Wednesday, March 4, 2015


The first drop of kowtow Winter 2015 is in and selling well.  We have their popular range of building blocks and part one of this seasons directional collection which is titled 10’000 Hours.
As always this collection which is designed in Wellington is made from premium certified organic fairtrade cotton and everything from the recyclable swing tags to the oxo-biodegradable packaging has been produced responsibly.
kowtow have this to say about the state of the current global clothing industry:

"For a long time, many of our consumer habits have appeared to have no consequence. It is now quite apparent that there is an imbalance in standards of living throughout the world which is fuelled by the West’s continuing short changing and exploitation of labour markets in the so called third world.
We don't believe anyone who is truly aware of what is going on in the world would want to turn their heads and support a slave trade economy.
Being into clothes we decided to do something about it - certified fair trade organic clothing that is ethically and sustainably made from seed to garment."

                          Uniform Dress

Is it true that it takes ten thousand hours to become a master in any discipline? Getting introduced to this hypothesis from philosopher and New York Times writer Malcom 
Gladwell during the early stages of the design process led Kowtow to explore ideas of repetition, timelessness and concentration with this first part of Winter 2015.
Kowtow’s 16th collection borrows design elements from utilitarian work clothing and sportswear, referencing a Japanese aesthetic to bring a feel of elegance and effortlessness to the range. With 10,000 Hours the label blends sporty silhouettes and preppy looks with their trademark architectural tailoring.

The colour palette itself draws from functional garments with highly wearable monochrome hues, such as Navy and Cool Grey contrasting with a bold Rust Red.  For the first time, the introduction of Grey Marle to the collection adds texture to the jersey looks in both the directional and Building Block ranges.
Kowtow exclusive prints explore the theme of endless repetition with a playful approach. The 10,000 Hours print refers to the traditional Chinese puzzle as a starting point.  Oversized cuts, relaxed fit and unisex styles are more than ever part of Kowtow’s statement with the Long Hours Anorak, Hours & Hours Pant and best selling Building Block Low Crotch Pant.

In this range kowtow is referencing those things in life that give us restriction such as varsity codes and school uniforms.  These formalities of education and work also force us to practice and choose direction.  With names like the Focus Dress and the Pay Attention cape this collection demands that we do!

                                                   Don't Think Twice Dress

                                            Form Shirt

                                              Pay Attention Cape

                                                   Building Block Low Crotch Pant & Function Piece

                                              Building Block Low Crotch Pants & Hooded Scarf

Friday, October 3, 2014

KOWTOW NEW SEASON : Spring/Summer 2014, Solid Light

Inspired by the minimalist art scene's exploration of light and space, Kowtow's 15th collection Solid Light draws on the works of renowned masters in this field.  References to the concepts espoused by the minimalists form the basis of Kowtow’s new Spring/Summer 2014/15 collections where their classic androgynous cuts play with contrasting sharp lines and with the organic curves of the human body. 

Panels and pleats add structure and shape to the Solid Light Dress (above on bottom left), the Shutter Trench, and the Installation Dress (above at top right).

The Light Me Up Cardigan (below on bottom left) and the Solid Light Dress (above on bottom left) are oversized garments that create the perfect foil layered with tailored styles such as the Speed of Light Blazer (below at top right).


Please note that this iconic Kiwi brand is extremely popular and styles sell faster than you can say "I heart Kowtow", so don't delay or risk disappointment. 


Tuesday, September 9, 2014



Ingrid Starnes’ much loved Vetyver Bergamot perfume has a new buddy in the form of a luxurious scented candle. 

The hand poured botanical wax candle evokes an earthy, smoky fragrance that blossoms into a fresh and intoxicating allure of its sister scent, the Eau de toilette perfume. 

Beautifully packaged, the candle comes in a timeless ceramic vessel designed in collaboration with the last mould-maker from New Zealand’s ceramic makers, Crown Lynn. 

The vessel’s design was inspired by the coffee beakers Ingrid drinks her morning coffee from, so that once the candle has reached the end of its life, the vessel can be reused for drinking or as a decorative object or vase for your home. 

Available in four colours; sage, blue, blush and granite, you can even collect the set.

As with all Ingrid Starnes products, from the swing tags for her fashion collections to her perfume boxes, the new candle is presented in an elegant and understated gift box with copper foiling made on a hand operated vintage press.

A very special gift for that someone special, be it friend, lover, partner, parent, or a treat for yourself! 

Friday, August 15, 2014


Thrilled to secure a hand-picked selection of ceramics from Christchurch talent Tatyanna Meharry, aka The Busy Finch, we caught up with Tatyanna in her converted garage in the central city to discover what goes into making her organic range of ceramic tableware, besides a whole lotta love!

The Busy Finch handcrafted China White series of bowls.

A Christchurch girl, Tatyanna’s first memory of potting was spending precious time with her Grandmother in her pottery studio. Tatyanna’s introduction to pottery was sculpting penguin families alongside her Grandmother as she worked. Following the completion of a Masters in Fine Arts in Dunedin, Tatyanna soon returned to Christchurch where she decided to reconnect with her love of clay and took up a pottery course at the local community centre, Risingholme, where she quickly increased her tuition from one to two classes a week.

When many of the tutors moved away from Christchurch after the quakes Tatyanna found herself stepping up to the wheel as a teacher instead of a student. “I had tutored at the Dunedin School of Art and just seemed to fall naturally into leading the classes.” 

Sharing her skills with others is a rewarding experience, as it is to provide a kind of refuge from the stresses of daily life in in a post-quake city. We have a lot of fun slapping, smacking and pounding clay. It can be an enormously helpful outlet for relieving stress! “Teaching also constantly allows me to look at clay with a fresh pair of eyes and helps me reassess how I interact with it.”

The Busy Finch handcrafted 300 Series t-cups and jugs.

Alongside teaching pottery Tatyanna spends as much time as she can in her makeshift home studio crafting beautiful organic tableware and large scale porcelain sculptures for art exhibitions. Keen to learn more about the process involved in creating her works of functional, everyday items, Tatyanna describes the process.

“I make two types of pots.  One is cast in a mould using bone china clay from an originaly thrown pot.  This gives a regular and wafer thin pot that is exceptionaly white and magical to decorate.  The other way is throwing 300gm of clay on the pottery wheel into a choice of three different shapes; a vessel, bowl or jug.  The bowls sometimes have handles attached and then they become tea cups!”

Tatyanna Meharry, aka The Busy Finch, in her inner city Christchurch pottery studio.

“One of the things I am mindful of as a maker is how much waste I make with the resources that I use.  So by limiting the weight, size and shape of my pots I create very little waste, and the little waste created is then recycled.  The 300gm pots are dipped into the recycled bone china from the cast pots and then glazed.  The “Rock” jewellery cellections are created from the recycled throwing clay so nothing goes to waste. As I tell my students, the clay is millions of years in the making, so it’s important not to waste it.”

Friday, July 11, 2014


Two Create created a new logo earlier this year to reflect the type of work they create for their clients and their values.

Award winning multidisciplinary design agency, Two Create, offers a wide selection of design services ranging from art direction, branding, spatial and product design to packaging and print.

This husband and wife duo popped up on our radar with their recent rebranding earlier this year. Lucy and Tobie Snowdowne met whilst studying product design at the auspicious Central Saint Martins in London and their east end studio has since grown to include two other creatives, Felix Trunk and Chris Mizen.

'Polished Concept' mirrors designed for Design UK II journal in 2003.
Limited Edition steel counterweight 'Poise' Candelabra for Salone di Mobile 2004.

Designing products for local and international brands such as Muji, Givenchy, Liberty of London, and Habitat, as well as showing their work at the esteemed Milan Furniture Fair and creating vibrant interior spaces for the youth cancer unit in St Margaret's Hospital, this East London creative agency has established a fine reputation for its integrity and pared back aesthetic. We don't know about you, but we can't get enough of the immaculate execution of their contemporary, yet utterly timeless creations. 

The Punt carafe, designed by Two Create for Habitat UK, is hand-blown using smoke-grey sodalime glass.
Limited Edition cocktail glasses and punch bowl designed for select venues serving Belvedere Vodka, 2008.
Die cut 'Pollen' lamp shades showcased at the London Design Festival in 2005 and later produced in black for a Mayfair restaurant and a Theatre bar in Manchester.
Polished brass 'Frame' desk lamp designed for Liberty department store’s ‘Best of British’ show during the London Design Festival, 2006.

Bespoke furnishings, commissioned by Craftspace, for the Teenage Cancer Trust’s Young Person’s Unit in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham.
Two Create's purpose built studio in Hackney, London, designed in collaboration with Tectonic Architects, 2013.

Monday, May 19, 2014


This new and innovative paper has completely revolutionalised the way we look at paper. Developed in Hong Kong, Repap paper uses stone not trees, less water in the production process, and is 100% recyclable, meaning it's completely sustainable and eco-friendly. Instead of chopping down trees, 80% of Repap is made from limestone recovered from quarries and building industry waste, and the remaining 20% from non-toxic resins. These non-toxic resins are what gives the paper its astonishing durability, water resistance, and luxurious smoothness. Experiments have been conducted here at The Flock, so we can vouch for it's amazing tear resistant properties. You can even say good bye to paper cuts!

Enter Italian design brand Ogami, who turns this beautiful paper into stylish notebooks. Sold only in the very best stationers, design stores, and art galleries around the world, we are one of the few retailers that we know of in New Zealand to stock these very styly notebooks. Marching out the door by the bundle by writers, artists, designers, the design conscious, and simply anyone who enjoys putting pen to paper, get yours in store and coming soon on line.

Friday, May 9, 2014


Jane Shand's merino scarves are all designed and made in Canterbury. Photos: Image Workshop

Today we share a fascinating insight behind the scenes of one of our many talented designers, Jane Shand of JS Design (formally Jane Henry Merino). Creating quality wool from a small flock of specially bred Merino sheep on a family run Canterbury farm, Jane has close relationships with those who bring her designs to fruition while overseeing all aspects of the production process, which is lengthy and labour intensive. For each scarf being a true labour of love, we spoke with Jane to discover just what is involved in making these luxury beauties for our discerning friends of The Flock.

You’ve spent your creative career involved with wool in some way or another. Can you give an overview of your journey and how it led to establishing JS Design (formally Jane Henry Merino)? I grew up on a farm and was given a spinning wheel by my parents when I turned 21. Although I worked as a teacher for 30 years, I found spinning a most rewarding hobby when my children were young. For many years I spun, dyed, knitted and made pictures and rugs from my own designs. 

Can you tell us about your relationship with the young farmer, William Gibson, who breeds these small flocks of rare merino breeds? When I had a break from teaching I began to explore creative possibilities with wool and discovered a beautiful flock of naturally coloured merino. Someone in the industry told me about young Will, so I contacted his family and since my first visit we forged a very genuine friendship. 

When we met, Will was only 15 and he had been already been developing his flock from the age of 9.  The fibre was of exceptional quality and I admired Will’s passion and dedication to perfection in his breeding. As Will was looking for an outlet for his wool, and as many manufacturer's at the time considered this breed as the “black sheep” of the merino family, and preferred to dye the wool, I recognised its inherent beauty and commercial potential, so together Will and I began our collaborative relationship. His parents Anton and Liz now supply the white fibre, which is eco-dyed for a wider range of colours, as well as the naturally coloured fibre, and bring the same dedication to the task that Will does.

Can you give us a little insight into your creative process for your designs? It's very much an organic process and I dream ideas often at night. I am hugely interested in textures and pattern, more so than shapes, and making scarves and shawls allows me to explore this aspect. I admire traditional elements such as plaids, checks and stripes as well as lacy textures.

I aim to make products that will last many seasons, so I tend to design more classic styles with unexpected non traditional details. I usually draw or paint the designs to see how they might work and the lacy patterns get drawn on graph paper for my long suffering Dunedin knitter to interpret!

However, with all my designs I have learnt to be disciplined and work within certain constraints dictated by the availability of yarns on hand and what can actually be produced within New Zealand. Sadly many New Zealand factories have closed down, which has meant that whatever I make must be able to be reproduced in New Zealand if another factory closes, which has been quite challenging at times.

These particular merino sheep are bred for their inherent natural colouring. Photos: Image Workshop  

How closely do you work with the makers in order to ensure your design is interpreted just the way you envisage it? I work together with both my knitter and weaver by sitting down with them and discussing my ideas. Sometimes my ideas may not technically possible, so I moderate them to suit once I have learned what the machines are capable of producing. It is always a process and can be frustrating at times due to the constraints imposed by the weaving process, but can be an equally thrilling discipline. I try to remember that simplicity is usually best and not all crazy ideas are commercially viable.

How much of your time now is spent designing, teaching, spinning, knitting, and running your business? There is simply never enough time! I no longer hand knit and spin much anymore. Running all aspects of my business myself is a huge challenge. 

I spend many hours on the computer every week mostly organising the movement of fibre and yarn here and there, and developing a number of contacts overseas, packing and sending out orders, ordering new stock and keeping up with the books. 

I love the creative process, and seeing the wool evolve from the sheep at the farm gate through all stages of production to the finished product is extremely rewarding. However, it's always a challenge designing and overseeing the manufacturing process, as well as managing the business aspects like marketing, which is so crucial to the success of any business, but often hard to find the time for! 

I am about to start on creating a brand new website to give a clearly representation of what I am doing now, as the business has evolved so much since it first began. 

Grading the wool is a time consuming part of the process which ensures the very highest quality is used in production of each scarf. Photos: Image Workshop 

How many merino sheep are in the flock bred to produce the wool used in JS Design scarves? Will now has around 300 and it is growing all the time. However, it's a slow process as he is very selective about the sheep he keeps. Although white merino is much more plentiful, the fineness and quality (15 - 16 microns) which I use from Anton and Liz, is relatively scarce. 

Can all of the wool be used or is there some kind of quality process involved? People I've worked with in the past believe all of the fibre can be used. However, this leads to pilling and felting problems which ultimately undermines the quality. I have learnt that classing - removing all short and inferior fibre - is absolutely crucial and that is what Will and his family do. 

There is huge trust involved in this aspect. There is a world wide problem in the wool industry where pilling has become prevalent and less care is taken, or inferior fibre mixed for profit taking. I know now that this is largely preventable but it is very time consuming and costly.

The manufacturing process is lengthy and labour intensive; how many people are involved in making one scarf? The fibre has to be selected, micron and strength tested, colour sorted, baled and sent to be washed at the scour. 

The scouring process is a very technical process which needs to be done with great care or the fine merino will felt or clump. Then it has to be carded to remove any remaining short fibres and in our case because we use the worsted system, the fibres all have to be aligned. Then it is spun and sent to the dyer, if it is white is is eco-dyed with metal free dyes, and is then sent to either a knitter or weaver. 

Where is the factory based? We use factories all over New Zealand, but weaving is done in Auckland and knitting in Dunedin. Sadly a couple of years ago I had to transfer spinning to Malaysia because New Zealand no longer has the capacity to card and spin very fine merino. However I pleased to say the results have been exceptional and they are well respected within the industry for their high level of quality.

Can you tell us which parts of the creative and manufacturing process make JS Design scarves different from other mass produced wool products? I choose not to use most of the usual chemical processes which aligns with my ethos. Textile manufacturing can contribute hugely to chemical overload and can be damaging to the environment. 

The Merino wool we use is grown sustainably and I didn’t want to tamper with the natural qualities it has of warmth, softness and resilience. Our knitting yarns require waxing to facilitate their smooth running through the machines but wax is a natural product and when I dye I always try to use metal free dyes. Our naturally coloured woven scarves have no treatments at all. None of our yarns are shrink resist treated because this is a very chemical process and my scarves and shawls don’t need to be if people treat them with care. I spin a little more tightly than usual to ensure stability of the fibre and it has been a very experimental process to get this right without sacrificing too much soft handle. Wool has been used for centuries in its natural state – why not now?

Small factory within Canterbury where JS Design merino scarves are produced in small batches. Photo: Image Workshop 

Initially only producing naturally coloured wool from the specially bred Merino sheep, what led you begin to introduce eco-dyed colours? I wanted to do quite delicate patterns for my knitted products and someone mentioned that the patterns were feminine but the natural colours were not. I didn’t entirely agree, but it did prompt me to think about colour as a way of extending the range, and because naturally coloured fibre is rare and in shorter supply, I began to experiment with this idea and so it evolved. I have enjoyed working with these new colours, but still love the natural coloured fibre and the fact that I can produce items from this which are straight from the sheep’s back so to speak.

What do customers love most about your scarves? Besides guaranteed warmth and comfort, people are becoming increasingly aware of our impact on our environment and taking personal responsibility by buying sustainable and eco-friendly products. These ideals are strongly supported by our commitment to operating sustainably and responsibly towards animals and the environment, with an emphasis on using the highest quality natural materials. 

How often do you create new designs? Is this seasonal and are there some specific designs which are repeated every season? With my new company, I intend to bring out new designs every season, but popular styles like classic lace will remain. My woven scarves change less frequently as I am required to make large batches at once, but I love designing these and always trial a couple of new styles when embarking on a new batch. 

One needs to be careful to create a particular style that is easily identifiable as a JS Design in order to build a brand and changing too frequently can interfere with this. Building a sustainable brand of high quality natural products takes time and I did not want to be too influenced by the fickleness of fast fashion. My designs are timeless, have lasting quality, and serve their function of superior warmth and comfort in the cold.

To see our range of JS Design merino scarves click here >