Max is has been revamped by new owners Barkers. Image supplied.
Beloved Kiwi womenswear brand Max has been undergoing a significant transformation behind the scenes over the last year with the brand beginning it’s relaunch in the past week. New owners Barkers bought the brand late last year and have been revamping it with a focus on quality design and the use of more natural, sustainable materials. It’s in line with Barkers’ own transformation over the past few years and means a more responsible business model with less synthetic fabrics for Max.
Max has just released it’s new Resort range in time for Summer and a new line called Elementary which features relaxed silhouettes in soft organic cotton and linen, both ranges include a sustainable approach to their fabrics. There’s also new pieces in timeless Liberty Fabrics and new lines including swimwear, sleepwear and beauty and lifestyle products. Taking a boutique approach Max will also offer products made by local artisans including a curated collection of handmade jewellery by Jasmin Sparrow and Love Winter. There’s also ceramics by Claybird Ceramics, organic beauty products by Country Kitchen, loose leaf teas from Storm and India, and Turkish towels from Otto Loom on offer in Max stores and online.
Adding to the strength of its own fashion offering, Max will also stock international brands including jeans from Levi’s, sneakers from Los Angeles brand Clae and leather footwear by James Smith. These new lines are being introduced to Max’s 37 stores in time for summer with a planned revamp of the brand’s stores in the pipeline as well.
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.”
Max is opening new stores in Westfield Newmarket in late November and in Milford early next year which will include a personal styling service and feature the brand’s stylish new look.
“In its heyday – the 90s and early 00s – Max was the go-to fashion destination for many Kiwi women,” says 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, as he has long held a vision for Max and what it could become.
“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.”
Sustainable, modern approaches to business have definitely become popular for good reason and Max’s relaunch has been a year in the making but the seeds of change stretch back several years, says MacDonald.
“We know this is what Max customers want, they’ve been telling us for a long time. They want Max to be cool again.”
Max’s new Resort range is in stores and online now.