Sitka is a Tree. OMG. WTF. YUP. Named after the impressive Sitka Spruce evergreen tree, the Canadian based fashion, surf and skate brand has sprouted up it's first flagship store outside of Canada at 6 Osborne Street in Newmarket, Auckland – the fashion capital of New Zealand.
Hailing from the West Coast of Canada, the Sitka brand has evolved from humble beginnings with two keen surfers Andrew Paine and Rene Gauthier shaping the first Sitka surfboards, and the company, in a derelict garage in Victoria, British Columbia in 2002. The Newmarket shop is the third flagship store for the Sitka label which still holds close to its heart the roots of the business, although now bearing the weight of such labels as being voted "Canada's Best Brand" by SBC Surf Magazine in 2010.
The New Zealand flagship store has been fashioned using almost entirely recycled materials which the team have sourced from all across Auckland including demolition yards, inorganic rubbish collections, mystic houses and even Sustainable Coastline's coastal community rubbish pickups. The labour used to build the shop is testament to Sitka's ingenuity and can-do community style as those employed for daily duties on the shop floor have all had first hand involvement building and fitting out the store giving it a truly unique sense of ownership to the team. An impressive instore example of this work is the skate section designed and built by shop employee Brett Band who is studying product design at Auckland University of Technology.
With the current collection of mens and womens clothing on offer in Auckland boasting a range of Sitka's very own milled organic cotton blends and bamboo fibre, it's a step in the right direction for those shoppers conscious of their buying decisions and the effect their actions have on the environment. At the heart of Sitka's ethics is the sustainability of the resources used in producing all of their garments and products. It is these ethics and corporate responsibility beliefs which has lead Sitka to plenty of praise at Vancouver's recent Eco Fashion Week, and Sitka being profiled on the May 2011 cover of Transworld Business Magazine.
The New Zealand based Sitka family is steadily developing and already consists of some upcoming but frequently noted names in the surf world including Blake Myers, Nicola Colson-Koster and Mischa Davis making up the NZ surf team. Auckland based band Tahuna Breaks headline Sitka's growing list of musicians as like minded athletes and artists are drawn to the lifestyle of Sitka. Sitka is also proud to be involved with Sustainable Coastlines, a New Zealand initiative to raise awareness of plastic pollution in and around New Zealand's waterways. Like Sitka, Sustainable Coastlines lead with a genuine hands on approach to education and environment cleanups, which Sitka has been proud to be involved with over recent months.
Complementing the Sitka range of clothing, skateboards and surfboards in the Newmarket store at 6 Osborne Street will be a selection of hand picked brands which Sitka is proud to be bringing to New Zealand. Among some hometown British Columbia favourites of Love Jules Leather necklaces, belts and jewelery, Cithara hand made necklaces, and Bags Jewels, are some more established brands including Showed and Rain sunglasses, The Critical Slide Society, Toms Shoes, West and Matuse wetsuits, and plenty more to come!