Life, like wine, often has a certain year that stands out above the rest, and the event will see Dan, Nathan and Cloudy Bay Estate director Ian Marden share details of their defining ‘vintage’ – the year they pushed boundaries and made magic happen – and in doing so invite guests to hear first-hand how they too can achieve the extraordinary. The stories behind each speaker’s vintage will also be displayed within a gallery space
Dan Gosling is one of the most successful figures in the local fashion industry, as founder of Black Box Boutique and co-founder of The Department Store. He is also the creator of Stem, which distributes over 20 fashion labels through New Zealand and Australia including Moscot, Ksubi and Insight, and of course, one of the boys behind top NZ label, Stolen Girlfriends Club.
We sat down with Dan to find out more about his involvement in this unique event, and to learn a little more about his own ‘vintage’.
At what age did you know your life was going to be all about fashion?
It happened quite late. I started distributing clothing and snowboards when I was 18. Being exposed to this quickly growing market it was all about the marketing and the hype behind the brand that made them stand out from the rest.
What designers were the most influential to you when growing up?
When I was growing up I was surfing, so it wasn’t really so fashionable then. I used to love Nom D tee shirts and hoods when they first started. Also Workshop were known for their jeans. Otherwise it was just casual clothing.
What was the first item of clothing you remember getting totally fixated on, something you had to have?
Some Lee denim shorts when I was 5 years old. Mum said I never wanted to take them off. Then when I was 19 I got a Nom D short Peacoat. Still have it.
What was the turning point, the moment you switched off any pursuit of a standard 9 to 5 job and made fashion your full time career?
When I came back from London when I was 23. I had been working as a accountants assistant. I used to go to work when it was dark and come home when it was dark… depressing.
Over the last ten years you’ve achieved some amazing things. Which years stand out?
Year 1: 2005. Going out alone and setting up Stem Distribution Ltd. Before that I had been in partnership with another distribution company for 7 years. Being able to go my own way and make the path I wanted to head. This enabled me to pick up some of the really great fashion labels that I have today. We now have over 20 brands that we distribute through New Zealand and Australia.
Year 2: 2009. I opened the first Black Box by accident almost. I was looking for a space for my partner, who was moving back from Sydney, to set up her sales and PR business and keep driving past. What an incredible space I thought… maybe I should open a store as well?
Year 3: 2010. 1 year after opening that store we opened ‘The Department Store‘. It was 6 months from deciding to do it to opening.
What has been the ultimate peak for you, the moment when everything came together?
Opening the second Black Box in The Department Store, and Stem and Stolen Girlfriends Club all growing.
What things have kept you truly focused through these years?
The people that I work with. Very important to have great staff and business partners. They inspire me and make my life a whole lot better. Love of the industry I am in. Although it is quite a small market it is a lot of fun and changes all the time. Four ranges a year to sell/buy and work with.
What is your ultimate vision for the next five years?
I am concentrating on distribution in the Australian market and building up the brand base. Taking Black Box online and opening two new concept stores.
‘Cloudy Bay, Define Your Vintage’ will be held on Tuesday 5th July, Wednesday 6th July and Thursday 7th July at Starkwhite Gallery, 150 Karangahape Rd, Auckland. Ticket sales are limited, $45 per person, and will be available online mid June at defineyourvintage.co.nz.