Georgette Pollock-Johnston has lived and breathed fabrics and fashion her entire life. “My grandfather owned Barker and Pollock fabrics and my grandmother was the most incredible fashion muse” she said. “She could put the strangest things together and make them look incredibly fabulous.”
Pollock-Johnston’s mother also inherited the gene, and now owns Centrepoint Fabrics. “In all honesty, my mother tried to steer me away from the fashion industry as she knew how cut throat the industry can be, but with my heritage, I was born for it!” Pollock-Johnston studied Fashion at Massey University of Wellington, embracing fashion trends and garment production. She completed an internship with Rebecca Taylor in New York where she gained extensive experience from designing to embellishing and sourcing right through to assisting backstage with their New York Fashion Week Show. She currently works as a freelance fashion stylist and assistant, which combines her love of fashion and a keen interest in photography.
“I’ve learnt that fashion can be such a cut-throat, competitive industry, but it’s important to remember that there is room for us all to make it to the finish line,” she said. “Be kind to your peers, and real winners help everyone achieve their potential. It definitely wasn’t always easy for me, but I’m so glad I stuck to it and came out the other side with a qualification in something I’m so passionate about.”
Between her mother and her grandmother, Pollock-Johnston has big shoes to fill, and it’s her grandmother who serves as the basis for the collection which Pollock-Johnston is going to show at Vancouver Fashion Week.
“The collection is a personal tribute to her. She was an unforgettable woman of influential strength who always radiated a joy of life and care for others. When my grandmother entered a room you always knew she was there, purely because of the amazing presence she brought with her. I kept this in mind while designing this collection.”
A standout of the collection is the ‘Renee Coat’, which features the face of Pollock-Johnston’s late grandmother on the back The coat is hand beaded with around 1000 pearl buttons around the collar, cuffs and bottom of the coat. The face on the back is embellished with crystals and beads. “It’s completely wild, over the top and gorgeous just like she was,” said Pollock-Johnston. “Its screams everything Renee.”
The collection shows a heightened sense of femininity with an edgy strength that commands attention. The sparkling textural interplay of pink, silver and beading with a chic silhouette are influenced by the Seventies. “The impact of dress can never be underestimated to tell the story of others’ lives and hold memories to learn from.”
Pollock-Johnston is a designer at heart, although doesn’t mind needle work. “Sewing is an incredible skill to have,” she said. “Clothes are so important and the number of my friends who say to me ‘oh, I wish I could just whip up an outfit tonight’ – I think it’s an awesome skill to have.”
“It’s my pattern making that has room for improvement,” she admitted.
Pollock-Johnston is inspired by a clear brand vision, design and aesthetic that stands out from the masses. She draws influence from Versace and Moschino and has done so from the beginning. In the future, she would like to open her own store and dress the stars.
“Unfortunately, with the small amount of people we have here I don’t think this will happen in New Zealand but I’m dreaming of a store overseas, hopefully the USA! I love working on shoots, designing and being creative, but most importantly I want women to look and feel fabulous, empowered and unstoppable in my clothes,” she said. “There is something very powerful about watching someone step out in public looking and feeling fantastic. If I can make someone feel like that, then I have achieved my goal.”