What is contemporary Māori clothing and why has it become so popular?

One way in which Māori express and cultivate part of their culture is through clothing design. In the past decade, contemporary Māori clothing in particular has become its own rising star, with a great deal of locally owned Māori designed clothing stores popping up all around Aotearoa. But what is contemporary Māori clothing, and why has it become so popular? Let's find out!

Contemporary Māori clothing: What is it?

Contemporary Māori clothing is a relatively new concept that first started appearing in New Zealand some time after the 1990’s. Contemporary Māori clothing combines both traditional elements passed down from their Māori ancestors with contemporary fashion trends. Today, we see a huge array of contemporary Māori clothing, from t-shirts to dresses, all the way to baby clothing and activewear. 

Why Contemporary Māori clothing has become so popular

In this day and age where everything has become more accessible (thanks to our good friend the internet), more and more people have begun to understand the importance of diversity and cultural representation both in New Zealand, and world wide. With this sudden burst in awareness, the desire to express and cultivate the traditions and history of Māori culture in New Zealand has also risen. How can Māori express and cultivate Māori traditions and history? Yup, you guessed it; through contemporary Māori clothing (and it’s working!).

contemporary Maori Clothing

Why is contemporary Māori clothing so important?

Contemporary Māori clothing is just one of the ways in which Māori artists and designers are able to express not only who they are, but where they come from. When Māori designers create designs for their clothing, they are using traditional elements and techniques used by their ancestors. This enables them to carry on these traditions into the future, and because contemporary Māori clothing is so popular, it allows more people to invest in conserving these traditions.

Buy Contemporary Maori Clothing


Where can you find contemporary Māori clothing?

Searching for stores that sell contemporary Māori clothing is easiest online. Just a quick google search will help you find dozens of locally owned, Māori designed clothing stores that sell an array of different clothing to suit your needs. Here at Nōku we sell a beautiful range of Māori designed clothing, from t-shirts, pants, dresses and more!


In summary

Contemporary Māori clothing allows Māori artists to create meaningful designs that connect both their past and their present together in one garment. Thanks to the internet, more people are investing in Māori designed clothing, and with its rise in popularity, it helps solidify the belief that Māori traditions are not only important to New Zealanders, but relevant.