"After 15 years of travelling around the world, collection and chasing the trends, I am now lucky enough to be able to share my obsession and love of all that is fashion with you. Loobie’s Story is a taste of what’s happening around the world, the things I’ve coveted the most."
These are Loobie’s Story designer Laurinda Sutcliffe’s own words, and the ‘story’ behind this designer is certainly an interesting one. Sometimes it takes a shocking change in circumstances to bring out the best in a person, and for Laurinda and her husband Brent, this is exactly what happened. After a time of challenges for the designers, Loobie’s Story has launched for its first season, spring/summer 2010.
For Laurinda, Australian born, a talented and successful creative director at one of New Zealand’s leading fashion companies, the sudden shock of redundancy after 20 years of service made her ask questions of herself, her own ability and the future. It rocked her back on her heels.
“I was stunned to find that I was so disposable! It was very hugely damaging to my confidence,” says Laurinda. After years of such a high energy, all-encompassing work life, suddenly I didn’t have to get up and go to work. For a while I really didn’t know what to do. The first day after I finished work I swept the kitchen floor about 10 times before midday I was so lost.”
The situation was exacerbated because her husband Brent, likewise a talented ragtrader, had only recently sold his menswear design and importing company; opting to take the role of house-husband for a while, to balance the extraordinarily busy lives they led with the raising of their son Alexander.
Laurinda’s redundancy happened only days after the sale of Brent’s business was completed. It was the perfect storm for them both. Both now with way too much time on their hands and no money coming in the door, they did what was obvious to everyone else, to create their own label.
Friends and contacts Laurinda and Brent had made over the years began to rally around – many of them the absolute top of their fields in design, communications and marketing – to offer support and their skills – a virtual A-Team of talent. “For so many years my ‘community’ was through my job, but suddenly I found such brilliant connections in my local community, right under my nose – I never recognised their potential,” says Laurinda.
One of these connections was when a friend introduced her to a brilliant ragtrader who had been based in Hong Kong for 15 years, but was now living two minutes down the road; an expert in sourcing garment production for leading European department stores. This contact was simply a ‘Godsend’ and when combined with Brent’s international sourcing knowledge, suddenly the design, the marketing and supply chain was all in place. It simply came down to a decision of what to create and what to call it; Loobie’s Story.
“This process was such a personal journey for me,” says Laurinda. “From redundancy, to flux; then finding so much friendship and support… We decided to call it Loobie’s Story – Brent’s sweetheart name for me was Loobie - and it seemed fitting. This brand is my story of my own personal journey.”
While building the brand, Brent and Laurinda kept a low profile - it wasn’t until the time came to present the label to the retailers in Australia (first) and New Zealand that the duo would really believe their vision and feel the delight of success – Loobie’s Story was greeted with near unanimous enthusiasm on both sides of the Tasman.
Laurinda and Brent both understand that the war isn’t yet won and after the first season there is another; after sales, there is product to deliver, but with the brand already off to the best possible beginning and they couldn’t be more excited by the opportunity.
“Our slogan is Loobie’s Story: ‘A Life Well Lived’,” she says. “It is for women having great lives; who’ve had their kids, lived and gained experience and are devoting more time to themselves. “It is about coming to terms with who you are and who you want to be.
Check out a few of our favourite pieces from the Loobie's Story spring/summer collection:
Buddha Top and Milano Pant
Kowloon Cardi and Du Buci Pant
Melrose Vest and Everything Under