"I never had big dreams of being a fashion designer growing up.
It wasn’t until I won a scholarship to study at Parson’s School of Design in New York that I considered starting my own business.
It was during an internship with Rebecca Taylor in New York that I looked around her workroom and thought, when I have my workroom I’d like it to look a little like this. Once the decision had been made to start my own label, there wasn’t an alternative career path for me.
Having been in business for over 11 years, there have been a lot of changes, namely on the manufacturing side in New Zealand. As we become a global market gaining access to resources and manufacturers overseas we see more and more locally designed product being made off shore due to cheaper make prices and access to specialised resources that are simply not available any more within New Zealand.
As it stands, my label remains staunchly New Zealand made. Supporting the local economy and the manufacturers within our industry is a big part of how I run my business. Many of the outworkers I use have been making my clothes since I started back in 2004. I believe strongly in supporting the people within our economy and I strive to create luxury products that surpass trends and seasons, so the importance of beautifully tailored, quality garments is key.
An outworker in particular that has been a huge part of my business since its inception has been Noelene Slaughter who started Avenue Clothing the same year I began my business. Avenue looks after my sampling, production and pulling together special order pieces. Noelene and her small team work closely and tirelessly at points in the season to help realise the collection from pattern to a finished sample. She understands my brand ideals and is a vital part of the process of putting garments out to market that we are both really proud of.
We are incredibly fortunate that our customers are hugely supportive of our stance on locally made product. Our customers are discerning, intelligent women that do not want their clothes to scream, but rather effortlessly take them through their busy schedules. They are happy to invest in key pieces rather than trend driven fashion that often don’t stand the test of time.
Another change as the market becomes one global stage is the rise of online and how important it is to compete on this platform. It was an entirely new movement in retail for me when we launched our e-store a couple of years ago. Since then we have redeveloped it to keep up with the changing face of online shopping behavior and the results have been brilliant. The mechanics behind e-tailing is exciting, fast paced and ever evolving and we’re working incredibly hard to get to the forefront of it as it provides a stage to showcase the brand internationally in the way we intend it to be seen."