William Broome, the founder of this clothing company, lived from 1873 to 1942. Broome emigrated from Staffordshire to New Zealand when he was 21 years old. He was very interested in clothes and started an outfitters business that he called 'The Palatine'. The shop was situated on Devon Street in New Plymouth. On 23 December 1913, Broome made of Swanndri a new trademark, which later became an icon of New Zealand. Another important part of his business was the sewing of wool that came from mills that were implanted in Wanganui or even Wellington. The new designs include a zip to close the shirt, replacing the previously laced neck closure. In 1938, tired of his relentless work, William Broome, then an accomplished sexagenarian, decided to transfer the business to his wife, Ivy. Unfortunately, Broome died 4 years after this transfer, at the age of 69. In 1952, Ivy sold both business and trademark to John McKendrick, who already had a clothing company in New Zealand.
Swanndri does not only correspond to the name of outdoor clothing in New Zealand, it also refers to a typical popular but expensive bush shirt. The bush shirt is a tough shirt that is made from 100% woollen yarn. It is known for its warmth, its quietness and its durability. Its special fabric keeps people warm and dry during the winter and cool in the summer. It is the perfect clothing for the farm or the ranch and for working, hunting, fishing, horse riding and tramping. These shirts are called “the Swanndri” because rain runs off the wearer’s back just like it does with the neck of swans. The original bush shirt was hooded and had a lace up front. It also had extra wide front pockets. The shirt made it possible to move easely. The shirt is almost waterproof: you will only start feeling wet if you stay in the rain for hours on end. Another advantage of the shirt is that the wool used to make it is light and burns with more difficulty than other synthetic materials.
Some people say that the Swanndri shirt does not have enough pockets. One man says that it is really useful for the rain. He had a t-shirt under the Swanndri overshirt and he was not cold even though it was raining. But another one disagrees and says that it is not warm enough when it is windy and freezing. Most people think the prices are not too expensive, which is a good point for the Swanndri. If you are interested in buying one, the easiest way is via the internet. You can go on eBay, for example, or surf on websites on which you can see the opinion of different people throughout the world!
Louise Bienfait, Kaya Demoor, and Brice Marlier