Not having to wear school uniform helped cultivate fashion designer Meghann Hemmings’ personal sense of style. She enjoyed seeing how other students created their individual looks. One of her friends would rip chains off of toilet doors for necklaces, which was perhaps more subversive then. “I did the whole super low slung jean look, like Christina Aguilera in Dirty, paired with a tank top and pointy kitten heels,” said Hemmings.
The designer’s earliest memory of fashion was being in tears after receiving a pink, tassled poncho when she was 13. The first thing she ever made was a dress for her school ball, with her mother’s help. “It was an awful dress in $3/m satin,” said Hemmings. Studying Fashion Honours at AUT when she was older, the designer spent her last two years working with leather, particularly Ostrich. She loves drape and leather, and would love to work with it more. This creativity isn’t only limited to Hemmings, as her brother Gareth launched Beach Brains.
Hemming is the sole designer and outsources production locally. Her cousin Ellie Hemmings is the graphic designer and branding genius, Gareth is the photographer, and Kirsty Mclay is the pattern maker.
“I adore women and would love if we could all embrace our unique shapes,” Hemmings said. “To ooze sensuality even in the mundane of the everyday.” Fair trade is of vital importance to the fashion designer. She is inspired by many aspects of life, from the women around her to New Zealand’s natural beauty, to going swimming, or just having a quiet night with a good book on mid-century modernism and a bottle of wine.
In the future, steady growth is the plan. Retail options will come with time, although online is a great way for her to reduce overheads and keep the clothes affordable for the moment. Aspirations to be stocked in the United States are driven by Hemmings’ love for California. At some point in the future, the designer wants to open her own store close to the beach and enjoy being part of a community.