Asia key to success of young designer’s first range

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By David Russell

Young Adelaide fashion designer Cooper Davis’s new label is finding success in unlikely places.

His capsule collection CBKD X BNKR is available in BNKR’s Rundle Mall outlet, but it’s international sales that are really taking off, through the BNKR online store.

And while the range has been popular in the US, sales have been strongest in Singapore. It may seem like an unlikely market for a first-time 22-year-old Adelaide designer, but Cooper isn’t at all surprised with the success of the line in Asia.

“Singapore is a great customer base for BNKR Online, especially for the more fashion-forward and experimental pieces… they really understand our brands there,” Cooper told Inside South Australia.

“It’s a very natural fit for them (Singapore) as a country, where culturally fashion is more important than other places.”

Adelaide fashion designer Cooper Davis at the launch of his capsule collection CBKD x BNKR

Adelaide fashion designer Cooper Davis at the launch of his capsule collection CBKD x BNKR

Since graduating from Adelaide’s TAFE SA Fashion School, Cooper has worked at Australian Fashion Labels as a Customer Care Representative for the BNKR online store. That role gave him a unique insight into how to target the Asian market.

“I recognised the potential some countries like Singapore, Korea and Japan have for us from working for BNKR Online, because we hear from them so often,” said Cooper.

“So I targeted these regions with my gifting and social media… I hashtagged in Japanese (Cooper speaks Japanese), which is a first for any of our brands.

“I also sent some pieces to Malaysian singer Yuna, who is huge there (in Malaysia) and in neighbouring countries.

“Many of our long-term customers in Singapore also know me from assisting them in my role in Customer Care and have been very happy to see it released… there’s definitely a personal connection there.”

While many young designers try for years to get the opportunity to design their first line, it was Australian Fashion Labels Creative Director Melanie Flintoft who approached Cooper.

“Cooper has such an interesting outlook on fashion and style,” Melanie said.

“I wanted to give him an opportunity to explore his own creativity and create something commercial – yet completely fashion forward.”

Cooper's Jumanji print top and pants

Cooper’s Jumanji print top and pants

Cooper’s collection comprises of graphic element and is entrenched in personal stories. His Jumanji print is based on imagery from music videos by M.I.A. and he hand-drew his Clairvoyant print himself. The capsule comprises of four tops, two dresses and a pair of pants.

Cooper sees Asia as a massive opportunity for himself and Australian Fashion Labels.

“Asia is definitely a big market for us and I think the success of this capsule collection and our other labels proves that.

“With AFL’s Shanghai office opening we should really be able to connect with Asia in ways we could only dream of in the past.”

Cooper also hopes to design for Australian Fashion Labels again in the future.

“I’d love to design again for AFL… unfortunately even though CBKD x BNKR has a print inspired by psychic powers, I don’t have any myself, so I can’t say for sure.”

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