The Kōtuku (White Heron) occupies an important place in New Zealand's Maori myth and folklore. The creature is rare and revered with just over 100 birds in only one colony on the West Coast of New Zealand's South Island. The elusive bird is elegant in his elongated forms and poise - check your next $NZ2 coin.
The Japanese identify their ancestry with family crests (mon). A rich and beautifully reduced visual language of these symbols has developed. It is thought mon first originated in fabric patterns, and their usage since has ranged from imprinting ceramic roof tiles to signal a family home, to being used more broadly on products such as tofu and sake to lend an air of elegance and tradition. Animals and plants are common mon inspiration - see the ¥500 coin.
Turning to tradition in our identity development is curious for Okewa in that we approach most things from a fresh, modern perspective. We found the heritage of this Japanese crest language somehow reassuring in flighty times as we seek to build lasting garments authentically. Also, with the Kōtuku mastering their precious life on the water so gracefully we had to try it on. It just seemed to fit.
Okewa's visual identity is the work of designer Dianna of the In-Company Collective.
Okewa means large grey raincloud in New Zealand's indigenous language Te Reo Māori.
Photos: Prak Sritharan; Steve Attwood; In-Company Collective; NZSam.