25 May 2018

Fast fashion kills Auckland shoemaker Minnie Cooper

From Checkpoint, 5:37 pm on 25 May 2018

After nearly 30 years, Auckland women's shoe label Minnie Cooper has closed for good, citing fast fashion and no GST on online purchases as the final nails in its coffin.

Checkpoint visited Ms Cooper at Minnie Cooper's former workshop today. Watch here:

Founded by Sandy Cooper in 1989, Minnie Cooper made all of its shoes in its Avondale workshop, and had stores in Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch.

But Ms Cooper said business started to slow once online shopping took hold, and fast fashion houses like H&M and Zara began offering clothes far cheaper than it was possible to make them in New Zealand.

"If I could've made $20,000 a year, I'd have stuck at it, but I couldn't [afford to] lose $20,000 a year," Ms Cooper said.

"To anyone who's grown up seeing boots at $199, suddenly people start to feel affronted at the real price a pair of boots cost to make."

Minnie Cooper's boots sold, on average, for $359.

"You can't say, 'I won't pay $90 for a t shirt,' and think it's an outrage. Actually, what's an outrage is $19. But because we've had our benchmark set by third world prices for so long now, the real price has become an outrage," Ms Cooper said.