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Fashion’s Rising Star: Georgia Hensley-Smith


From a classroom at the Hagley College School of Fashion to the fashion catwalks of New York and Milan, Christchurch fashion designer Georgia Hensley-Smith is proving you can do anything you set your mind to – even at 18 years of age. “I believe if you have a goal, you can achieve it,” she says.

 

Georgia Hensley-Smith

 

“Everything I’ve thought of doing so far has happened, despite any obstacles. If you’re passionate and believe in yourself as well as your abilities, you will succeed!”  Georgia launched her clothing label GEOJ OFFICIAL in 2016 when she was 16 and in her first year of Fashion Studies at Hagley College, admitting she has always known she was destined to have a career in the fashion industry.

Still processing her thoughts from showing her latest collections at the New York and Milan Fashion Week shows, Georgia says the experience taught her a lot. “I had a few customers wanting to buy my garments in New York but I wasn’t allowed to sell them, which was a bit disappointing. But on the positive side, my online platforms and profile gained a lot of attention.” Georgia’s Milan Fashion Week collection featured a beautiful combination of neutral tones, high-quality fabrics and a hint of iridescent magic. Her New York Fashion Week collection was her “boldest yet”, featuring bright and eye-catching print, with tailored pieces.

 

Georgia Hensley-Smith

 

“The pieces are designed to be mixed and matched. Worn together or separately, they will put anyone on the best-dressed list.”
Since her return to Christchurch, she is now concentrating on developing her shoe range and admits she is in talks with some department stores which have expressed interest in carrying her garments and footwear. “I’m really passionate about developing my shoes and have some designs already on the go,” she says.

Georgia is also keen to help showcase local designers and wants to be able to hold local fashion shows where potential clients can collaborate directly with the designers. “I want to be able to help and inspire other young designers and showcase the talent that we have here.”



 

Margi Robertson

the Queen of the underground: Q&A with Margi Robertson


Metropol catches up with NOM*d founder and one of New Zealand’s top fashion designers Margi Robertson.

 

Margi Robertson

 

You’ve recently been to Paris, what was the highlight of Fashion Week for you?

It was wonderful as always to see the Rick Owens presentation. He has shown at the Palais de Tokyo for several seasons now (outdoors in the huge and amazing courtyard) with models ascending from the top level down the stairway and circling a huge tower structure which was set alight partly through the show. It was so cool – as well as great looks from Rick!


How do you describe your Jeepers Creepers spring and summer collection?

Lots of references to favourite TV shows, be it Looney Tunes or The Young Ones. Sitting as always alongside signature NOM*d looks, like reworked vests, easy fit pants, two way dresses, mesh and cotton t-shirts; all able to be mixed or layered or simply worn solo.


Who has been the most inspirational person in your life?

Rei Kawakubo, of Comme des Garçons. Since I travelled to Japan in the mid-80s, I have always looked to her for easy garments with unpredictable construction. It’s made me recognise that a brand must have a signature look and is recognisable no matter what season. It makes the garments ageless.


What is “the New Zealand Look” and how do you feel about being credited in the media for it?

I think it’s a little over-used. We were given that moniker when we showed at London Fashion Week with the NZ Four. Perhaps it’s something to do with dark and the All Blacks? I’m baffled and I don’t know who wrote it, but it has remained to this day!


You have Plume in the Central City so tell us your thoughts on Christchurch’s inner city rebuild?

It’s amazing how the CBD is coming together, and we are literally across the road from our previous High Street location! I think the locals are still a little apprehensive about going into ‘town’ as the one way streets take some getting used to. Every time we visit Christchurch, from Dunedin, there is a new development happening. We love our space and being in a new building we’ve been
able to create the interior with wonderful light and space.


If you could go back and give yourself one piece of advice at the beginning of your career what would that be?

We have grown organically with no business plan, I wonder if we should have had one? Not sure that it would have changed our progress.


What is the biggest hurdle you’ve had to overcome in your career?

Having to justify to our peers in the fashion industry why we have remained in Dunedin, and maintaining a presence. In some ways it’s quite nice to be a little underground and appealing to a fan base, almost a cult following. I imagine living in bigger cities there is a lot more pressure to conform and that’s not really our style.


How is working in the fashion industry different today from when you started out?

The biggest thing is the instant communication with the digital age we are living in. When we started retailing in 1975 or even producing our own collection in 1986 we pretty much operated with telephone calls and fax machines (until the late 90s).
Now we have thrown out the fax, every employee has a computer station and we use many software programs to compile and retrieve data for both manufacturing and retailing. Everyone can access anything from anywhere in the world in less than a minute!


What is the most memorable comment on social media you’ve read about yourself?

Had a much admired collaborator say she would like to be “just like me when she got to my age”.


If you weren’t a fashion designer, what other career would you like to do?

I’ve never had any desire to do anything else… even at 65 I don’t know what else I would do!


What are some of the things we can look forward to from NOM*d this coming year?

No predictions, not really our style… the new is the new, always.