If you’ve stumbled upon Foal either online or at its pop-up boutique in Ponsonby Central, you wouldn’t be the first to ask, “Do you have this in my size?”

Mother-daughter founders Suzanne and Colleen Davis make chic “grown-up clothes for kids”, including cotton twill jumpsuits, corduroy chinos, and structured twill chore coats with patches that say “Friends of the Foal Club” in French.

Like the investment pieces we buy as adults with the intention of wearing repeatedly, the same applies to Foal’s clothes. “Paint in our chore coats, draw in them – every stain or little bit of paint that you get on something that won’t come out is a moment where something was built in your life,” Colleen says. “They might be beautifully couture, but they are meant for the hard work of play.”

Never miss a moment. Make sure you're subscribed to our newsletter today.


Unlike the barefoot and sandy childhood we tend to associate with little Kiwis, Colleen says the Foal archetype has an early fascination with cinema and the art gallery instead. “They’re more of a nerdy person than a beach person,” she says.

Naturally, then, Foal’s design inspiration comes from quirky books and films. The first collection, Moteur! (meaning “engine”), launched in March 2022 with references to the 1960 French cult classic Zazie Dans le Metro – think vintage workwear cuts and automotive motifs.

The name Foal is a nod to the whimsical nature of a baby horse. “I find the animals to be scrappy – as in tenacious – and elegant and funny, which are all the things I would hope to describe our little fashion label as,” Colleen says.

“The next collection happens to be [inspired by] a book and a French short film about a little boy who befriends a wild horse,” she says of Crin Blanc by director Albert Lamorisse. The other inspiration was Gerald Durrell’s memoir My Family and Other Animals.

It’s not due out until August, but in the meantime, a capsule for the cooler months will launch at the end of April. This includes wool plaid trousers, a beret and a boiled wool cardigan.

Disregarding traditional seasons, Foal purposefully makes trans-seasonal garments to wear and layer year-round. “We both feel the constant push to generate new collections is detrimental to the sustainability of the fashion industry,” Colleen says.

The current size range, 86-centimetre to 122-centimetre (height-based sizing), roughly translates to 12 months on the smallest end and seven years at the top. “We expect children to buy clothes that are too big for them and grow into them,” Suzanne explains. “So, everything is double-sized.” This means they use buttonhole elastic waistbands on the pants, and cuffs are designed to be rolled up and shown off for the first year or so.

Most of the pieces are gender-neutral, too. Foal’s patterns, embellishments and cuts steer away from stereotypes like pink and unicorns for girls, blue and dinosaurs for boys.

Suzanne, a semi-retired paediatric neurologist, makes the vast majority of Foal’s pieces herself. For decades she made special-occasion pieces that Colleen would design herself for performance in her past life as an actor and singer. Then Colleen’s son Harry Valentine came along – Foal’s original muse.

While she enlists some help from a fellow Auckland-based sewist, every piece is at least finished by Suzanne for consistency – hence why they’re able to offer free repairs for life, too.

She has often researched couture sewing techniques in her spare time, and therein lies one of the obvious differences to Foal’s quality. She’ll sew time-consuming seams (like flat fell rather than the simple serged seam) and line jackets in contrast fabrics. Extra measures like this ensure the longevity and durability of a garment – and, in the jacket’s case, extra warmth.

“We’re trying to make the inside as beautiful as the outside, wherever that’s not frivolous,” Colleen says.

Head into Foal’s pop-up shop in Ponsonby Central and you’ll find one of the pair. Suzanne is often sewing away, much to the delight of curious littlies. They’re there until April 9, so now’s the time to go and get an in-person feel for Foal while its founders make plans for a new home beyond their online store.

Shop 13 136/146 Ponsonby Road, Ponsonby, Auckland