Company of Strangers

by Insiders Dunedin

“I’ve always been a maker” explains Sara Munro of Company of Strangers as she muses over her first forays into arts and design: doing needlepoint with her grandmother and selling pots she had painted in the Octagon.

Fast-forward through college (Otago Polytechnic’s School of Fashion) and a dream job with Dunedin’s Nom*D and Sara found herself making jewellery and bags out of leather op-shop finds. Company of Strangers, she says, simply snowballed from there.

“After a few years doing Company of Strangers on the side I realised I really wanted to develop and share our own retail vision.  I wanted our brand to have more direct relationships with our customers, provide more variety and have other brands that I love sitting alongside; so I made the very snap decision to open Company Store on George Street next to the Good Oil when the space became available. Within 4 weeks we had painted and created our space. It was a bit of a blur actually!”

“Obviously working for Margi from Plume for so long impacted my aesthetic, it was my real fashion education, being involved in the odd buying session and seeing the international designers they bring in developed a love for the Belgian and Japanese designers, the innovation and creative experimentation of these designers was so eye opening for me”.

“I love winter fashion and I love to be comfortable, these factors influence me a lot. Your clothes are sometimes your armour; they empower you to be confident.  I am very much of the opinion that if you are comfortable and confident in your clothing,  you are more able to cope day to day.”

What Sara really loves about Dunedin life is the ease of being close to everything - facilities, beaches, and outdoor adventures.

“Some might say the isolation is a negative but I think it’s an absolute positive.  The only negative thing about living and working in Dunedin is that not all my friends do!  I wish they all lived here too then I would be complete!”

“We are also so rich in places to get great coffee! My friends are often jealous of our cafes when they visit.  We do it so well here.  Our art scene is so strong, we have so many talented people here who are so humble about what they do, I love that.  No egos”.

“In my free time I’m all about the baking. I love to make food, I have a large family and hungry teens so when I get home from the workroom and can’t relax I bake and make food!  I refuse to have a sewing machine at home, it’s like bringing work home, so I bake and sometimes paint our house or (much to my husband’s frustration) have a vision for the bathroom and start peeling wallpaper or lino and don’t ever finish it! Hello I’m an IDEAS person!”

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