Clothing inspired by original gear worn on the 1953 summit of Everest by legendary Kiwi, Sir Edmund Hillary, is a talking point at a new store honouring his name at Queenstown Airport.
The Edmund Hillary Collection is a premium lifestyle clothing label and reflects the style of the jackets, knitwear and accessories worn by Sir Ed during his Himalayan expeditions. The brand was co-founded by the Hillary family and Sir Ed’s grandson, Alexander Hillary, and combines style and function to create a contemporary range of adventure wear.
“We are using some of the same manufacturers who supplied the original gear for the Everest expedition in 1953 so the design work has been done in the UK, to stay true to the gear which was produced there,” says Edmund Hillary Brands Ltd marketing director, Clare Hall-Taylor. “We also have New Zealand-made merino hats and T-shirts and we are currently looking into Nepalese fair trade companies to supply some accessories and would even like to start our own manufacturing facilities there.”
While the clothing Sir Ed wore on the famous 1953 expedition was high-tech for the time, she says the modern garments bring that technology into the contemporary era, creating high-performance gear that can be worn on any intrepid adventure.
“The clothing follows ethical production methods, with goose down and feathers sourced as a by-product of the poultry industry. The pieces are also built to last a lifetime and by no means contribute to the throw-away ‘fast fashion’ industry.”
The aim of the brand is to keep Sir Ed’s memory alive by inspiring people to get into the outdoors and push the boundaries of their comfort zones.
“The objective is also to continue Sir Ed’s charitable work, so a percentage of the sales goes to a special trust set up to support the charities he was involved in, such as the Himalayan Trust in Nepal where he built 30 schools, twohospitals, 12 village clinics, threeairstrips and provided thousands of educational scholarshipsto the people of Nepal,” says Clare. “Another is Hillary Outdoors, which runs outdoor activities for kids with leadership potential, who come from low decile New Zealand schools.”