When it comes to New Zealand womenswear, Max have been at the forefront from the very beginning. Retail is a fast game so to keep up with the times, Max has undergone a significant transformation at the hands of new owners, Barkers menswear.
Customers will see the brand with a whole new look and new collections will hit stores in time for the Summer season with a fresh take on the classics as well as some slightly more fashion-forward trends and collections. We will get a glimpse of the brand’s partnership with Liberty of London, using Italian fabrics and exclusive prints. Max will also be releasing an in-house collection of luxe pieces that include organic cotton, washed linen and other natural fibres.
The relaunch will see a shift into a more responsible business model like that of Barkers, moving away from synthetic fabrics and putting a greater emphasis on quality design and more sustainable materials and practices.
Teaming up with local artisans, a curated collection of new lifestyle product will be available in-store including handmade jewellery by Jasmin Sparrow and Love Winter, ceramics by Claybird Ceramics, organic beauty products by Country Kitchen, loose leaf teas from Storm & India, and Turkish towels from Otto Loom. A perfectly timed addition for the Christmas gifting season! International brands will also be available, including jeans from Levi’s, sneakers from Los Angeles brand Clae and a leather footwear collaboration with James Smith.
Rolling out across Max’s 37 stores in time for spring/summer, the new multi-brand, large scale boutique shopping experience is more akin to how women want to shop today, says Max GM Rochelle MacDonald.
“Today’s customer likes to cross-shop across multiple brands. She wants to be inspired, to dwell and discover. She wants garments that are made to last and to know what she’s wearing is sustainably and ethically made.”
New-look stores are in the works, with features such as remodelled changing rooms and a personal styling service. With a new store opening in Westfield Newmarket in late November, the concept will be rolled out across the rest of the group over time, says MacDonald.
Group MD Jamie Whiting, who worked briefly at Max in 2009 and has helmed locally owned Barkers through its own transformation over the past decade, says he has long held a vision for Max and what it could become. “In its heyday – the 90s and early 00s – Max was the go-to fashion destination for many Kiwi women.
“At the core of our vision we wanted to create a premium lifestyle brand for the modern woman, and as a New Zealand brand, Max is in a unique position to best understand the nuances of the New Zealand woman.
“This extends out beyond our own products to the collections we have been working on with local artisans. We love the idea of working collaboratively to help grow New Zealand businesses.”
Max will open their second Newmarket store in Westfield Newmarket in the coming weeks.