Already a cult favorite at home, up-and-coming Auckland-based label Stolen Girlfriends Club got another shot in the arm when it was announced as the grand winner of the inaugural DHL Fashion Export Scholarship 2008 at a glitzy fashion awards show in Auckland on Thursday evening.

The three-year-old men’s and women’s brand, co-founded by directors Marc Moore, Luke Harwood and Dan Gosling and designed by Moore and Zara Mirkin, will receive a prize that includes freight to the value of NZ$10,000 and coaching in freight and logistics from DHL Express. It will also get an individually tailored export mentoring package from Fashion Industry New Zealand (FINZ) and annual FINZ membership.

The annual FINZ Christmas party followed the event.

The winner was chosen by a panel that included leaders from New Zealand’s fashion and exporting industries: fashion designer Trelise Cooper; founder of 42 Below, Geoff Ross; fashion editor Zoe Walker; FINZ executive officer Mapihi Opai; and DHL Express New Zealand, Fashion and Textile Strategic Account Manager Jason Orlop.

“Stolen Girlfriends Club was the unanimous choice as the recipient of this scholarship,” said Opai. “Their achievements to date, coupled with a sophisticated export and media strategy, show a brand being driven by a dedicated and ambitious team who know exactly what they want to achieve, and have the nous to make it happen.”

Jimmy D and Salasai were named runners-up for the prize and also presented with awards.