This week in 1989 WORLD first opened it's doors. That makes us 28 years old!
With just $400 between them, founders Francis Hooper and Denise L'Estrange-Corbet opened a 100 square foot shop in the Century Arcade above Alfie's nightclub at 5 High Street Auckland City!
Read what WORLD co-founder Denise L'Estrange-Corbet has to say about the first day at the shop:
The first customer in that day was Francis' ex boss, who was also in the fashion industry at the time, and he sniffed "Is this it?", and I will never forget those words.
I sat there, in my first store, on the first day of opening, having just got married a few days before, I was expecting our first child, and was so excited to have achieved so much in a week, until Mr Rude turned up.
It was sparse, I grant you, but opening with only $400 total, was no easy task.
I guess I took it as challenge, and 28 years later here we are. 6 standalone stores, having shown at official fashion weeks all over the world, the brand is sold globally, no backers, all done on our own, and still supporting the local industry by ensuring our luxury garments are made in New Zealand by artisans.
Amongst the memories, Denise recalls a couple that still make her smile:
There have been so many things, but two that stand out, are the first bikini we designed in the very early 90's, which was made from denim. An extremely prominent commentators' wife bought one, and called to say it shrunk when she got in the sea, and she was too scared to get out! We learnt from that moment on, to pre-shrink cloth!
Also in the early 90's we were involved in a fashion event, which was recorded to be shown on prime time TV. All our models were gay, and two were drag artists. We were told there was a good chance our section would not be shown, as they were not sure how New Zealanders would react to seeing gay men dressed as women on national television. We said we did not really care about the TV, and we went ahead with the show and did what we set out to do.
Our section WAS aired, and New Zealanders not only embraced the fact that we had broken another social barrier, but two of the drag artists, were then offered a cooking show. The fact that there was a chance it would not be aired made me laugh, but not in a humorous way, we have come a long way!
To celebrate our 28th year we have created 3 limited edition 1m by 1m silk scarves beautifully printed with imagery from WORLD's fashion show archives - collect your piece of history now - only available in store!!!
Happy Birthday WORLD, if we can say so ourselves, but more importantly - thank you to everyone who has made this such a fascinating and enjoyable journey.
Love, Denise, Francis and Benny