Since 2005, New Zealand-based Deadly Ponies has become internationally renowned for all of the right reasons. The leather accessory brand has wowed us all with their forward-thinking designs, artisanal quality and ever-relevant collaborations. The aforementioned combination of traits categorises Deadly Ponies as a luxury brand, and rightly so, but it’s the sheer quality of the products that founder Liam Bowden believes to be the most important factor when striving for that luxury status.
Firstly, in order to gain a little perspective, I ask Liam what, exactly, luxury means to him. As surmised in one word, it means quality. His confident response ensures me that Deadly Ponies is all about getting bang for your buck. For this brand, a sense of luxury is achieved only ever considering materials that are capable of enhancing the product. You won’t find a scrap of poor quality leather here. For Bowden, a luxury product is well-considered, well-crafted and timeless.
In an industry inundated with fast fashion, it’s refreshing to come across a brand that sources materials as meticulously as Dead Ponies. The high-quality materials are the backbone of the luxury brand, and are testament to the relationships Deadly Ponies has with its suppliers, some of which they have worked with for almost a decade. That buttery leather, which is utterly luxurious to the touch, is sourced locally. The farmed-deer leather comes from the South Island. In the eyes of Bowden, great materials mean great quality, and great quality is one of the few things that warrant a luxe price tag.
It’s always easy to gauge a brand’s luxury status on its list of celebrity devotees, and with famous clients including Lorde, Eva Longoria and Charlize Theron, Deadly Ponies has a list as enviable as any other luxury brand. I asked Bowden which other celebrity he would like to see captured by the paparazzi wearing a Deadly Ponies bag. His answer was Michelle Obama, because she’s a strong, iconic woman. A quality woman bearing similar traits to their quality bags, it would seem.
Longevity is front of mind for Bowden. And when I ask about what garments any aspiring luxury wardrobe should include, the answer seems to be cut from the same cloth. He says, anything made in a natural material will only get better with age, so to opt for those wherever possible.
Bowden fondly remembers the first luxury item he treated himself to – a notebook from French fashion house Hermès. Although the self-gifted notebook was an object of simplicity, he recalls how the amazing materials that were used to make it elevated the book to a new, luxurious level. A timeless item that, when used over time, would be just as beautiful as when it was when new.
With Bowden, and with Deadly Ponies, it’s not about trends or fads. It’s quite simply about beautifully made garments that never go out of style, and that, perhaps, is what makes them so very luxurious.