When there is something new happening in Wellington, it is hard not to get excited about it. This time around it’s the arrival of New Zealand luxury leather accessories label, Deadly Ponies.
Creative Director and founder, Liam Bowden, is ecstatic that Wellingtonians now have the opportunity to view Deadly Ponies products as part of a fully-fledged creative vision—bringing a new store to Wellington was due largely to a well established customer base.
“There was a huge demand [in Wellington], so it will be great to engage directly with customers,” he says.
Liam was conscious of the Wellington market being different to other parts of the country. He says tailoring the store’s aesthetic meant aligning it with Wellington’s creative clientele.
“If it’s bringing interest to the industry and encourages growth, then I think it’s fantastic to have healthy competition.”
“The design for the Ghuznee Street location is the best one yet, and the creative vision was as much about the space, as it was about the products decorating the shelves.”
Liam worked with interior designer, Katie Lockhart, who designed both of his Auckland retail stores, and the Wellington location also sees a continuation of Brancusi-esque references running through it.
“Katie has done an incredible job in creating the playful, yet sophisticated essence of Deadly Ponies,” Liam says.
“We wanted it to be warm, colourful and inviting the moment that you step through the doors, so we’ve used lots of colour with beautiful resin perspex to create glowing light boxes and glass-like totems. We also took inspiration from Luis Barragán’s work, ‘Fuente de Los Amantes’ with the amazing angles and pink hues.”
For Liam, the appeal of the Ghuznee Street location was that it offers the immediacy of interaction with other local businesses, and he was immediately drawn to the creative quarter of the inner city hub.
Plans to launch the Wellington store have been in the works for at least a year, but Liam says finding the retail space was faster than expected—12 weeks, to be exact.
“As a retail environment Wellington is new to us [and] at this stage the store will hold our full collection, as well as a one-off exclusive, the Mr Fur Stitcher.”
Liam says as time goes on the Wellington store will offer even more in-store exclusives that won’t be available at any of the other branches.
Deadly Ponies began with Liam making a bag for himself, and today, the label also produces a men’s range. The current collection is inspired by crocodiles of The Nile with products made from embossed leather. Liam adds, “There were no actual crocodiles used in the production of the collection.”
For women, the new summer colour palette focuses on workwear browns and denim blues. The collection is based around ‘family’ and in particular, inspired by the family that has grown out of Deadly Ponies. For the campaign, Liam wanted to shine a light on the DP family, and each staff member is featured with pieces that they helped to create.
Founded a decade ago, Deadly Ponies quickly garnered a captive following, establishing a firm foothold in the Australasian market. Craftsmanship was, and still is, the backbone of the brand’s ethos—products are made locally using only the best materials.
Liam maintains that one of the downsides to producing quality and working with specialised staff is finding artisans to craft and create the bags in the Deadly Ponies workroom.
Another consideration that has changed the playing field is the emergence of other homegrown leather accessories labels that target the luxury end of the market: Yu -Mei, a brand founded by Jessie Wong will be showing at New Zealand Fashion Week this month, and My Deer Fox also offers another alternative for the discerning shopper.
Despite the added competition Liam remains positive, “If it’s bringing interest to the industry and encourages growth then I think it’s fantastic to have healthy competition,” he says.
And it seems there is no stopping Liam Bowden — a man who has never been deterred from putting in the hard yards and working all hours necessary to get things off the ground.
While Deadly Ponies has only just launched in Wellington, Liam says that it’s only the beginning of expanding the Deadly Ponies empire.
“We have a lot on the go at the moment so it’s hard to keep track of what’s coming up next, [but] we have some really exciting things launching in the next three months. I will definitely be in need a of holiday come Christmas!