Business is Boring is a weekly podcast series presented by The Spinoff in association with Callaghan Innovation. Host Simon Pound speaks with innovators and commentators focused on the future of New Zealand. This week he talks to Kiri Nathan, the co-founder of a Māori-inspired fashion brand that’s been gifted to some of the world’s biggest names.
This week we talked to Kiri Nathan, the fashion designer fusing centuries of Māori tradition with an industry so often focused on the future.
Nathan’s pounamu, carved by her husband and business partner Jason, and her woven kākahu cloaks have been gifted to visitors from Barack Obama to the Duchess of Sussex. Both are part of the Kiri Nathan brand’s unique offering: contemporary pieces that represent the modern fashion world but with their roots in te ao Māori.
It’s a concept that she’s had to forge room for, but she’s succeeded through determination, talent and dedication. And she’s not forgotten to carve the path out for those who wish to follow her journey. Nathan has created the Kāhui Collective – a group fostering collaboration and knowledge-sharing to create a uniquely Māori fashion industry.
The group has had scores of designers involved, they’ve taken trips to China as part of their development programme, and in the latest in a long line of awards and recognition for her pioneering work Nathan is a recent recipient of a Blake Leadership Award.
To talk her journey, how she’s making fashion work in positive ways, and what’s next, Kiri Nathan joined Business is Boring for a chat.