Douglas and bec x kowtow

0 Flares Twitter 0 Facebook 0 Email -- 0 Flares ×


Kowtow is the only clothing label to stock at Douglas and Bec. The small store in Saint Mary’s Bay, sitting on the quiet end of Ponsonby’s heaving shopping strip, sells a collection of furniture, jewellery and home-wares by designers from around the world. And now it sells kowtow. I went to the launch celebrating the coming together of the two design houses. Clothing racks and a changing room were installed to accommodate for kowtow’s Summer ‘13/’14 collection: “The Silent Space”, which featured a limited palette of black, white, bone and a bold orange print. The interior of the two rooms were painted floor to ceiling white; needless to say the clothing looked amazing in the space. It appeared as though it had always been a permanent fixture at Douglas and Bec.



Although I have only known about kowtow for less than half a year, they have quickly become one of my favourite New Zealand labels. They have a very strong aesthetic; one which speaks about construction, tone and materiality of the cotton they use. Kowtow sits outside of the coming and going tides of trend. It is a label which is aware of the cultural context in which it exists, but can continue its own investigations without feeling the need to fit the mold of common convention. Kowtow marches to the beat of its own drum, and seeing as they are onto such a good thing, I can only see them getting stronger as a label and gaining more recognition internationally as well as locally.

DSCF0730 DSCF0657 DSCF0656 DSCF0648

What makes me feel a personal connection to kowtow is the consideration for the ethics behind the production of the materials they use and the production of their garments. It is a brand which embodies a much healthier relationship with design-objects and their consumption; the process of production is considered from the cotton seed, right up to the finished garment. This material-conscious and production-conscious approach to design is reflected in the assortment of objects sold at Douglas and Bec. Everything in the store works together and is bound by a set of values rather than a style or look.


With Rebecca Dowie, the designer of Douglas and Bec, putting considered design and ethical production first in the curation of her store; it is the perfect setting for a label like kowtow. The objects in the store were simple, but in a way which reflected a lot of consideration into how and why they are simple. This considered simplicity is mirrored perfectly in kowtow’s clothing, which uses seams, ties and a well placed pocket to create simple but intriguing shapes. I was very happy to see such a brilliant conversation struck up between the two labels, and I really hope to see more intelligent and ethical design come from New Zealand.

DSCF0739 DSCF0707 DSCF0630

I would so happily move into Douglas and Bec.


Camera:Fujifilm X-M1, thanks to Fujifilm NZ

Author: Steven Park

I live in Auckland and am currently doing my Honours in Fine Arts at Elam. I run a design label called "6x4", where I make clothing, furniture, home-ware and other exciting things. Say hello if you see me walking around! Read More

Like our scribblings?