He started as a retail assistant, but Benny Castles has worked his way up to the upper echelons of fashion royalty, making his name as the king of colour, with a personal style that is as vibrant and worldly as the brand which he is now a director of.
Fresh from a whirlwind trip to Dunedin to judge the iD Dunedin Fashion Week for 2018 alongside Karen Walker and Maggie Hewitt, Metropol talks to WORLD Director Benny about how he defines style and pushes the envelope.
You first started at World as a part time retail assistant, what attracted you to the industry?
A job… a welcome alternative to schooling. Little did I know… I had always been interested in fashion and shopping, so it seemed a natural place for me to spend my time – around a host of uniquely interesting people and within an enviroment and business that offered such enticing ideas.
How do you define style?
I do not even try, except to say that it is not an entirely visual pursuit. Style and fashion add to one’s sense of self and, if done correctly, they can express your personality and character in a way that makes you feel the best possible version of yourself.
What is the best part about what you do?
The people. World is a personality brand, it was founded by characters and individuals and this continues through its staff and clients who are all interlinked, even though they are all so different, by a string of personality that makes the brand so much richer. We have a team of eclectic and distinctive individuals and the same can be said of our customers.
World has become an iconic Kiwi label, why do you think it has been such a success and how do you continue to stay ahead of the game in such a constantly evolving industry?
Francis Hooper and Dame Denise L’Estrange-Corbet who founded World are mavericks, their boundless energy to push the envelope and evolve alongside their self created rules are what has continually made World a brand people can connect themselves to. We care little for what others are doing or what the game currently is, we do what pleases World and hope that our customers will enjoy our independent vision.
What was a standout at this year’s iD Fashion Week?
Inspiration – fashion at its most innovative, emerging and creative should move you. The freedom of emerging designers should elicit a joy in their work and I was pleased to see this spark in the work of what are some very talented designers.
What are some of the things we can look forward to from World this coming year?
Our new World Christchurch store will continue to evolve as we grow our collections of beauty brands and the seasons change. We are continuing to work with a host of artists and creatives on making sure the concept window on High Street and the store itself are ever changing environments.