Sara Munro (nee Aspinall) is the founder and director of fashion label Company of Strangers, a label known for its contemporary design aesthetic and top quality products. Sara attended St Hilda’s from 1991-1995, and from there she went on to study Fashion Design at Otago Polytechnic. Some retail and design assistant jobs in Sydney and Wellington followed, before returning to Dunedin to work at established label Nom*D. After taking on a variety of roles in the Nom*D workroom for six years, Sara decided to return to some study at art school in Dunedin. However, this was short-lived as her sideline in making jewellery and leather goods became a full-time business, which led to her taking on staff, setting up a workroom and supplying six retailers in the first year, and then exporting to Australia and Hong Kong in her second.
In 2012 Company of Strangers showed their first collection at NZ Fashion Week in Auckland to great success, and has returned a number of times since then. In 2013, Sara opened Company Store on George Street, which, in addition to the Company of Strangers ranges, also stocks other local and international designers. When asked about her career highlights so far, Sara recalls a pair of shorts made at Nom*D worn by Madonna (who then copied their design and made more!) and also when band The Kills asked to keep some of her jewellery from a fashion shoot with a NZ stylist. In terms of the future, Sara would love to open two more retail stores and grow their Australian and international export business.
In addition to her busy life in the fashion trade, Sara has also served on the iD Dunedin committee and is a PEAC committee member (Polytech Advisory committee). She is married to Bill, a lawyer, and they have a family of four – stepsons Arlo (14) and Valentine (12), daughter Frankie (13, who will start at St Hilda’s in 2017) and Vinnie (4).