Earlier this year, a woman from South Africa who was looking at moving to Welly asked me on Facebook what raincoat she should buy for our weather. Without hesitation, I told her - "Okewa Rainwear. Okewa Rainwear is the only raincoat you'll ever need to wear if you live in Wellington. It lasts a lifetime."
Nick and Nevada Leckie are the founders of Okewa Rainwear. We've known each other for a few years (they were my 7th residents) and both my boyfriend Matt and I have a coat each from their range. Knowing that umbrella's were not made for the Wellington wind, the pair set out in 2015 to found the ultimate stylish coat, inspired by the Weather of Poneke. Now the pair has their third pop up shop open on 83 Willis Street (next to Health 2000 and opposite MP) - their finest yet. If you need a raincoat for this Wellington winter weather or are simply wanting to upgrade from that mouldy tramping parka that you fish out reluctantly every drizzly day, you NEED to stop in and check these guys out.
The coats use a special fabric which is sourced in Asia. Nevada says "Typically our fabrics take around two or three months to weave in Japan, Korea or Taiwan, and another month to ship by sea to New Zealand. It's quite a nice slow, carefully-considered process. All of our fabrics are two layer fabrics with a membrane on the inside and a durable water repellent on the surface of the face fabric which is what beads the water." How genius for that Wellington winter downpour, Residents? AMIRIGHT?
All Okewa coats are made in Christchurch and every seam is heat-sealed with a clear tape on the inside to stop any water penetration which makes them waterproof (vs just shower-proof). These coats are waterproof rated to 10,000mm, which is a measurement of the amount of water pressure the fabric can withstand (think of a tube of water the diameter of a $2 coin - it would take a 10,000mm (10m) height before water penetrated through the fabric!) They are also breathable up to 8,000g/m2/24hrs - which is a measure of the amount of moisture vapour that can pass through the fabric from the inside out. They are breathability, and really sensational linings too (every coat is lined), is so these coats are key for comfort! Boom.
So now you know how good these coats are, you'll probably want to go and try one one - have a feel and all that. As I said before, they now have a great pop-up on until 4 August on Willis Street. This time around, Okewa Rainwear have teamed up with my favourite Wellington accessories designer 'Kept Limited' who make to die for cashmere and cotton scarves and gloves and also 'Revie', a stunning footwear designer. These guys have carefully made NZ designed, European made, designer goods which you should really check out. Have a read of my chat with the founder of Kept Jonathan Hall, here.
It's Okewa Rainwear is really long lasting and is made in New Zealand - and so naturally the cost of the product reflects that. This certainly isn't a wear-for-one-season-throw-away item. Okewa have an incredibly made product which is designed to go the distance with you. Buuut don't take it from me. Matt (Resident boyfriend) says "This is the best thing I've ever bought. It's light. It's easy to wear. It's easy to fold up."
Okewa pricing varies from about $395 - $800 (depending on whether something is on sale or not); so I thought I'd show you three different looks to explain why these coats are so special and hopefully inspire you to go in and support the store. Which one is your favourite? (Photo credit to Matt for helping me on this mission!)
Look 1: Mountain Tamer - Wearing Olive Raglan Coat
The Down-Pour On The Olive Raglan Coat: $495 down to $395 in Black and Oliv
- This Raglan coat is a nice casual style for Wellingtonians. Olive is such a lovely colour that has been around a lot lately in fashion, homewares, decor... it's still going really strong. It's just that far enough away from black to be quite interesting!
- This one has single breasted domes so really easy to throw on and off.
- Like the Black Trench (below) it has domes on the cuffs to tighten the sleeve when it's really pouring down.
- It has a practical inside phone pocket for those days when horizontal wind drives the rain every direction. We've all been there in Welly!
- This fabric is woven in Osaka, Japan and has a nice soft finish.
- Okewa Rainwear also have got a great men's piece in this colour! This is the style of coat Matt owns but in charcoal.
Look 2: Island Bay Black: Trench Coat in Black
The Down-Pour On The Black Trench Coat: $525 down to $450 in Black
- This is a variation on Okewa's first Trench Coat in charcoal that Nick and Nevada launched with a few years ago.
- For this season Nevada decided to take out the belt and storm flaps for a more pared back look, perfect for a low key walk along the promenade towards Lyall Bay from Island Bay.
- The Trench has domes for a more casual look and the hood it this one non-detachable, unlike some other Okewa Rainwear styles - nice and simple.
- The fabric on this coat is Okewa Rainwear's lightest-weight yet and has a really beautiful soft finish.
- It's definitely the coat I'd want to wear all year round from spring to autumn to these wintery days!
Look 3: Windmill Wanderer - The Amherst Coat in Camel
The Down-Pour On The Amerherst Coat in Camel: $695
- This is one of Okewa Rainwear's longer pieces. This shade is quite a deep Camel and seems to suit a lot of people vs a more pale-yellow camel.
- Okewa had quite a lot of feedback from women wanting a single-breasted long style similar to our men's Amherst Coat (hence the same name) so the women's Amherst Coat was born.
- The Camel fabric is a beautiful two layer fabric from Japan. It's a little weightier than some of Okewa's other pieces and they're just loving how it drapes!
- This Amerherst Coat has lovely hand-dyed camel corozo buttons and a detachable hood with brass cord stoppers and cord ends.
- Nevada had been wanting a Camel for a while as the collection was quite dark to start with a few years ago. She says "This is definitely my favourite coat - it seems to go with everything I have and looks really good without the hood on a crisp winters day."
- Available in Black and Camel.