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Emily Cooper

Sun striking the Clocktower

Emily CooperEmily Cooper
Consumer and Applied Sciences

Emily Cooper is taking the world outdoor clothing market in her stride.

In the four years since she graduated from the University of Otago, Emily has developed Silkbody with her father David Cooper and turned the secret of emperor's silk into what is expected to be a million dollar turnover this year.

Nearly 100 stores are stocking the brand across the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.

Silkbody has evolved into one of New Zealand's internationally recognised outdoor clothing brands - yet as their Waikouaiti post office box address indicates, they remain a committed Otago business.

After gaining a degree in Consumer and Applied Sciences, Emily joined David at Paradox Products Co Limited, and started up Silkbody in 2002.

Silkbody's origins began in the 1990's when David started importing the Silksak, a silk liner for sleeping bags. It was so successful, with its remarkable ability to be super lightweight while incredibly warm, that it encouraged Emily to start experimenting with silk.

"David wanted to expand what he was doing with the Silksaks, and I'd done my degree, so it made sense," says Emily.

She studied fibres and their properties during her studies at the University of Otago's Clothing and Textile Department. She says the department was small and personal "so they really looked after you".

Communicating the properties of what she describes as "an incredible fibre" is an important part of Silkbody's strategy.