Designer describes journey

Company of Strangers founder Sara Munro speaks about her journey from unknown workroom cutter to...
Company of Strangers founder Sara Munro speaks about her journey from unknown workroom cutter to leading Dunedin fashion designer, as part of iD Dunedin Fashion Week yesterday. Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.
Sara Munro has come a long way from hand-stitching rosettes for Nom*D while watching movies in her Wellington flat.

The Dunedin designer has turned her Company of Strangers and Strangelove labels into commercial successes and, to a degree, has Margi Robertson to thank.

Mrs Munro spoke about her career yesterday as part of iD Dunedin Fashion Week.

Her love of fashion eventually led to her job of adapting patterns to measure in a Wellington workroom, and doing artisanal work at home for Nom*D.

''Margi would send me up things and I would sit on the couch and hand-sew, then she needed someone to make samples in her workroom and I came back to Dunedin.''

Mrs Munro spent six years at Nom*D, learning about commercial fashion and making the odd mistake.

''I once over-ordered about 300m of fabric.''

She had a brief fling with the notion of becoming a photographer, then turned back to design and created jewellery for sale in a friend's boutique.

Her pieces were popular and she branched out into bags and leather wear, then clothing.

Mrs Munro said, in retrospect, she had long yearned to develop her own brand, inclusive of clothing accessories and shoes, which Company of Strangers embodied.

Her flagship store in George St was also a dream come true.

Designing was a collaborative process, in which she and her workroom staff bounced ideas off one another.

Pieces approved by all were selected for collections, Mrs Munro said.

''In a range there will be about 60 pieces, probably about 24 styles, and each is broken down into different fabrics and maybe two or three colours,'' Mrs Munro said.

Collaborations with artists have also become signature Company of Strangers style.

Mrs Munro will show her latest collection on the runway at tomorrow's iD Dunedin Fashion Show, which will also be held on Saturday.

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