The fashion label of Kiri Nathan (ONZM) embodies identity and inclusivity.
Inspired by Aotearoa New Zealand and Te Ao Māori, it is built on tradition, culture, unique design, integrity and a clear vision to deliver Māori fashion and art in cultural and business excellence.
After completing a visual arts degree, Kiri returned to the marae to learn traditional and contemporary Māori weaving, fusing these elements with business acumen to form the KN brand while also developing a range of associated mentorship and arts initiatives.
The Prime Minister of New Zealand wears the KN brand – and Kiri has met and gifted taonga and kākahu to Barack Obama, Beyoncé, Mariah Carey and Demi Lovato. At the request of New Zealand Governor General Dame Patsy Reddy, Kiri also hand-wove the two contemporary kākahu that Dames are cloaked with during investiture ceremonies.
For Kiri, there have been many other firsts. She was the first New Zealand creative to be invited by the British Council and British Fashion Council to London Fashion Week International Showcase, and the first New Zealand fashion designer to work with Walt Disney for the world premiere of ‘Moana’. In 2017, she was the first New Zealander selected for an International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) by the US State Department for ‘Women in Entrepreneurship’.
In 2017, Kiri also founded the Kāhui Fashion Collective – taking five Māori creatives to China to introduce them to trade within the largest fabric markets in the world. In 2019, she took a further 15 Māori to China, facilitating high-level meetings with market buyers and distributors. She formed this initiative to support the first community of Māori fashion designers that genuinely tautoko (support) each other’s growth and success – an example of how fellow creatives can thrive in collaborative spaces, while still maintaining their individual voices.