Head Designer Bridget Morgan (left) and Hannah Hanson (right) from Kapeka. Image supplied.
Kapeka is a sustainable knitwear brand based in Auckland and manufactured all over New Zealand. Kapeka was founded in 1998 by Peter Hanson and is now run by his two sons Richard and Donald with help from Kapeka’s head designer, Bridget Morgan and Donald’s wife, Hannah. Kapeka are focused on natural fibres and their knitwear is designed to be elegant, comfortable and to last for many seasons to come.
We caught up with Hannah and Bridget to find out more about their brand, what inspires them and what you would never catch them wearing!
Tell us about your latest collection/pieces?
Hannah: Kapeka’s latest collection for 2020 hones into a theme of Back to Nature. There is a strong, powerful movement towards natural, sustainable luxury; this year, we are championing the best fibres in the world in an earthy colour palette. While we went back to nature looking for colour inspiration, we found that nude, earthy colours weren’t the only players, bright bold colour bursts also featured. Think icy glacial blues, striking purple hues and emerald greens.
What made you become a designer?
Bridget: I was always interested in fashion and clothes. As a child I would sometimes wear 10 different outfits in one day. My teachers at school didn’t always approve of my outfits which often pushed the envelope! I started knitting and making my own clothes from age 10 and then making for friends and family. This carried on through university at art school and I haven’t stopped since.
What inspires you?
Bridget: New Zealand, our lifestyle, unique culture and natural landscapes.
Knitwear by Kapeka.
Describe your personal style and how it influences your designs?
Bridget: I believe good fashion makes you feel good about yourself. I have always been interested in natural and knitted fabrics. Knits gives the wearer a level of comfort and are ideal for an active lifestyle.
Hannah: I am often non-fussy and androgynous which plays off quite nicely as I find a lot of Kapeka’s designs are classic and unisex. We like to design items that will never go out of fashion and can be a staple in your wardrobe year on year which personally, I dig.
What is your all-time favourite purchase?
Bridget: So many to think of, I love getting something special and unique especially when overseas. I still have an Armani silk cocktail dress brought in a small boutique in Melbourne. My favourite piece in Kapeka would be the Cervelt wrap.
Hannah: My Mahana Cashmere turtleneck sweater… I wear it 3 if not 4 times a week. (I’m wearing it as I write this!).
What wardrobe item should everyone invest in?
Bridget: In natural, quality fashion pieces that last the test of time. The world needs to stop relying on synthetic based fibres not only for preservation of the natural environment but also these fibres are better for your heath and wellbeing.
Hannah: A good pair of boots that you can walk all day in – R M Williams are my go-to (both Millicent and Crafts Man are excellent).
Do you have a style rule you always obey?
Bridget: Clothes need to not only flattering but also comfortable.
Hannah: Bra straps are never to be seen…
Knitwear by Kapeka.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Bridget: Working in Italy with a fashion design team, but I always admire the team behind making Kapeka. Many have been involved from the beginning – they love putting the garments together and have real pride in what they do. The New Zealand manufacturing teams have created very supportive environments where they care about one another and take true ownership of their work. It is a pleasure working with them on the Kapeka ranges.
Hannah: Probably experiencing (and being a part of) the development of Mahana Cashmere – the end product was really exciting – finally cashmere that doesn’t pile and is sumptuously soft, I could never go back to 100% Cashmere.
What can’t you live without?
Bridget: Nature, beach, mountains I recharge in nature and designing Kapeka feels so right as it is based on nature.
Hannah: Merino wool socks… I have terrible circulation and hate having cold feet! These are the only things that keep my feet warm.
Finish this sentence – You would never catch me wearing…
Bridget: Something my 10 year old daughter hasn’t pre-approved! I was the same with my mum – now I know how she felt.
Hannah: Oh… Never say never… But for now – wrap around sunglasses.