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Clothes women love


Fashion Designer Rose Keys talks fashion and designing for Lania The Label.

 

 

Where did your journey into fashion begin?
From a young age I was fascinated by fabrics and textures, and I was encouraged to follow what I loved. I often remind myself that I do love the business, as fashion involves many emotions and hard work.

How did Lania The Label come about?
After 15 years designing the Verge brand, I took time out before starting my own clothes brand – Fray The Label, which was recently bought by Longbeach and rebranded to Lania The Label.

What do you love about designing?
Starting a new seasonal range; travelling to new destinations and experiencing different environments; listening to feedback from customers and hard-working retailers to provide garments that women love to wear.

Is there a Lania look?
Lania is all about natural fibres and comfort; garments that provide both fashion and function, whether you’re working, travelling, or spending time with friends.

Do you favour any particular colour scheme?
I love khakis, inks, blues and berries, and a touch of soft floral… creating femininity with an edge!

Any favourite fabrics?
Lania loves quality natural fibres and textures. I love working with denim; hand feel and fit are important to me; there’s always a new take on denim.

An unforgettable Rose Keys design would be of…?
Heavy silk in rich colours, beautiful clean lines and draping to create a vision of simplicity.

www.laniathelabel.co.nz or on Facebook @laniathelabel

A collaborative collection


What does popular New Zealand fashion designer Karen Walker have in common with an Australian denim production house? A whole lot, it seems. Karen Walker has just revealed her latest project; a collaboration with Outland Denim.

 

Based in Queensland, Australia, Outland Denim is a B-Corp company and one of the world’s hottest right now, because not only does this brand employ vulnerable women in Cambodia and provide them with a full skillset and personal development opportunities, sustainability is also close to its heart, making jeans with a lower environmental impact a core focus.

Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle has also caught the Outland Denim bug and the addition of Outland Denim to her wardrobe enabled the company to employ a further 46 seamstresses in their Cambodia-based production house.

We caught up with Karen Walker about the inspiration behind the collaboration and why it is so important to her.

 

The Karen Walker brand has long been committed to prioritising transparency, sustainability and ethical practices over profits. How important are these areas to you?
How you make your product is at the top of the agenda for any leading brand and will continue to be so.


What do you think are the most important areas businesses should be looking at when it comes to ethical business practice?
I think the most important thing is to ask yourself whether people really need the thing you’re making or the service you’re providing. Really consider every product you’re making before you make it and be sure it has a purpose and there’s a need for it.

For us, with this collaboration, we took the idea of utility denim pieces down to their very essence. What does the core of a utility workwear wardrobe look like and it turns out it’s one jacket, two jeans, a skirt, a t-shirt and a tote bag.

At the other end of the spectrum, our Atelier service makes a product only when people actually need it so it’s sparse in the extreme. And then, in the middle, with our ready-to-wear, we’re making about a third of the styles we were five years ago and bringing the collections down to their very core. We believe less truly is better.


Have you noticed change happening in this space?
Yes, I think people understand the urgency now more than they did five or 10 years ago.


How did the Outland capsule collaboration come about?
Mutual admiration and a shared desire to make beautiful, well-considered and needed things.


How did the design process behind this collaboration work, and what did Outland and Karen Walker each bring to the table?
We brought our unique design and Outland Denim brought their unique way of producing.


Why is this collaboration so important to you?
Collaborations are a way for brands to learn from one another. In this particular case Outland Denim’s Cambodian production team have learnt new skills required for the specific elements in our designs and we’ve learnt about new ways to approach the production of denim. Manufacturing of denim clothing has been very problematic for some time and Outland are on a journey to reinvent it and solve those issues that have been so intrinsic.


What was the inspiration behind the collection?
We wanted to create a family of garments that felt engineered and focused on structure and functionality.

 

 


 

10 years of Loobie’s Story


For 10 years now, Loobie’s Story has been adding the bohemian beauty to our wardrobes. Metropol catches up with founder Laurinda Sutcliffe about the brand’s exotic evolution.

 

Laurinda Sutcliffe

 

 

You’re celebrating an amazing 10-year milestone in business… How did Loobie’s Story come to be?
Loobie’s Story started when I found myself suddenly let go of my job as a creative director in fashion, a job that I had lived and loved for 20 years. Sitting at my dining room table with my husband Brent (about the same time he sold his menswear business), I decided it was time to venture into womenswear and create my own path, and so Loobie’s Story was born. I wanted to create a brand that was bohemian, light and fun – inspired by exotic locations and my love of travel. I feel so lucky to have been able to grow Loobie’s Story to what it is now over the past 10 years, with much more still to come!


What’s the story behind the name?
In a nod to my new business partner (my husband Brent), we named the brand after the nickname he affectionately made up for me when we first met, Loobie. Inspired by a blonde, blue-eyed little girl in an advert for washing powder – someone he thought I might have looked like when I was little. Now all of my nearest and dearest call me Loobie.


You’re now stocked in an impressive 140 stores! Why do you think New Zealand women have connected so strongly with the brand?
We started Loobie’s Story in a time when nearly everyone else was doing black and I think New Zealand women loved the bohemian spirit and colour in what we were doing. We continue to create each collection for a woman who is not afraid to buck the trends or stand out in a crowd whilst ensuring that every piece is still incredibly wearable. We’re inspired by far-flung exotic locales, to create pieces that can be loved as everyday wear or occasion wear for women across New Zealand and Australia. I think these core pillars of our brand are some of the reasons that New Zealand women love Loobie’s and we’ve amassed such an amazing network of retailers across New Zealand and Australia over the past decade.

 

 

Sustainability is something you’re increasingly passionate about. What are some of the sustainability measures you have in place?
Sustainability is a growing focus for our business and something we’re committed to. Each season our team mindfully designs collectible pieces; styles made to live comfortably in wardrobes for years to come. At the same time, our technical team work hard with suppliers to ensure the quality of our fabrics and garments will also withstand the test of time and a life well-lived. We recently released a roadmap to our sourcing and manufacture processes online, a source of information for customers that covers the areas of ethical design, responsible sourcing, the environment, people and a garment care guide which will be added to regularly in the coming months and years.


How would you describe the Loobie’s Story design philosophy?
The design philosophy for Loobie’s Story is all about understated glamour, beautiful prints, joyful colour and natural fabrics like easy-care viscose, silk, and perhaps the ultimate combination of opulence and practicality – silk with a little stretch. We focus on bringing a little bit of luxury to the everyday whether that be an outfit for your 9-to-5 or something for special occasions. The more elevated pieces are complemented with the everyday styles that underpin any hardworking capsule wardrobe and are made in the same shades found in the prints across the range. The idea was to make it easy for women to combine and layer our garments with complementary colour palettes that merge across seasons so they can confidently pull their own look together, whatever the occasion.


What do the next 12 months have in store for you?
We will continue to ensure that we keep delivering what the market wants from both our brands, Loobie’s Story and Madly Sweetly, with collections that inspire our customers and fulfil their needs. Of course as a design team we are focused on integrating as many sustainable fabrics and yarns into our collections as possible to ensure that we are playing our part in protecting the environment. There are a few other exciting plans in the pipeline too… watch this space!

 

 


 

Striking new city store


Fresh, bright and bursting with the colours of her new Kraftwork collection, renowned New Zealand fashion designer Kate Sylvester’s vibrant new store in the city centre is now open.

 

 

Situated at 112 Cashel Street, the store is the brand’s second in Christchurch, with a Merivale store that opened in mid-2016.

The renowned designer’s spring/summer collection Kraftwork features heavily in the new store; a collection which evolved from a personal tapestry project of Kate’s. Juxtaposing traditional craft techniques with modern fabrications, Kraftwork is an exploration of energetic colour, geometric shapes and the pixilation of video games.

 

 

Kate Sylvester takes a mindful approach to choosing key design elements for its nationwide stores. FSC sustainable plantation grown timber is a key element of the fit-out, along with recycled brass accents which get better with age and wear. American oak adds a lightness to the space and custom-built furniture and fixtures made with care by New Zealand craftsmen host the brand’s collection of accessories and jewellery.

“Christchurch is at a turning point with such an exciting energy in the central city. We are incredibly excited to be a part of this,” Kate says.

Find the new store at 112 Cashel Street, or visit www.katesylvester.com.

 

 


 

Always Aotearoa: Dual


Their hashtag is ‘Always Aotearoa’ and, if pondering a subtitle, let it be ‘Never Made Offshore’.

 

 

Local and loyal to New Zealand, Dual is a denim clothing boutique that Cantabrians should be proud of. Now located at 5/181 High Street, in the heart of the uber-cool SALT district (St Asaph, Lichfield and Tuam Streets), Dual does denim like nobody else. Two years ago, Phillip Sunderland and Stuart Montgomery bought the business from its former owner and spent 18 months redesigning and revisioning the brand. “Denim is timeless; it’s anti fast-fashion. Our clothing is about design and quality,” Phillip says. “These are unique one-off garments – made only eight hundred metres from our store.”

 

 

Phillip says the first year of business is about customer reconnection and reintroducing Dual as a brand dedicated to denim. The second year, they’re looking to grow nationwide, focusing on key wholesale customers, followed by a big global push, but with the manufacturing firmly and forever New Zealand-based. “From the outset, our intention was that Dual production would never disappear from this country. We’re the only denim brand made solely in New Zealand.”

 

 

Business partner, Stuart Montgomery, handles the complexities of the manufacturing process, and Phillip and Stuart work together on the brand direction before handing it over to expert designers and garment technicians Kat, Gina and Ellie. “If only more people understood the ripple effect of making and buying local,” Phillip says, “always Aotearoa is a truly great promise for today’s world.”

For more information, email hello@dual.co.nz or visit www.dual.co.nz.


 

Karen Walker

Striking sartorial gold: Q&A with Karen Walker

Every industry has one; the prodigious talents whose comfort zones are outside of the box and for whom rules are more guideline than instruction. They’re the rebels, the misfits, the rulebreakers and the nonconformists. But equally, they’re the trendsetters, the innovators, the visionaries and the true talent. For New Zealand fashion, that’s Karen Walker.

Karen Walker

In 1989, at 19 years of age with just $100 in her pocket and two shirts in her commercial repertoire, she launched the Karen Walker label. Since then, she has steadily grown to be New Zealand’s most famous fashion export, with more than 1020 stores globally stocking her fashion, eyewear, jewellery, fragrance and paint collections, and a cult following from Lady Gaga to Madonna.
With the ability to pair neons with pastels and floral prints with military touches in a way that only a true talent can, she has struck sartorial gold with her androgynous and offbeat designs distinguishable by their punchy, tomboyish edge.
Metropol caught up with the sartorial powerhouse after a whirlwind trip to Dunedin where she was judging this year’s iD Fashion Week.

What was a standout at this year’s iD Fashion Week?
The stand-out for me, obviously, was our first prize winner, Damir Begović, but there were a lot of other collections that I thought were really excellent – I was very impressed and delighted to be there.

How important is it to you to support emerging designers coming through the industry?
I think it’s very important for anyone who’s well established in this industry to support emerging talent and iD Fashion Week’s got a great structure in place for doing this in a unique and outward-facing way.

Karen Walker 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?
It all comes down to the ideas and we’re very fortunate that people like what we make. With regard to staying ahead of the game, I guess that’s just a result of us being interested in new ideas.

What drew you to fashion in the first place?
The feeling it gives you when you create or find something truly new/exciting/great.

How would you define the Karen Walker brand?
Chic meets eccentric.

You’ve been involved with some pretty cool collaborations recently, including cookie mix and cute canine accessories. How much fun has it been to do something completely different?
We’re in this business because we love to work with and create new ideas, especially ones that put a smile on people’s faces, and we’re always thinking about and working on projects that are new and exciting.

We have to ask the cliché question – what are your biggest style secrets?
A combination of lots of things really but the things that are important to me include: quality, a sense of self and a calmness within that, plenty of sleep and, for me personally, if in doubt… navy. And never, ever, ever counterfeits.

What can we look forward to from Karen Walker this coming year?
Coming up in the second half of the year we’ve got new eyewear (guys and girls), new ready-to-wear and bags and a big, exciting, top secret collab to top the year off.

Kendra Jeffery of Stolen Inspiration

From birkenstocks to balenciaga: Q&A with Kendra Jeffery of fashion blog Stolen Inspiration

New Zealand harvests the cream of the crop when it comes to fashion, but it’s also got a down-to-earth vibe that gives style the freedom to roam without rules or conventions. It’s a liberating juxtaposition that plays out oh-so-beautifully on one of NZ’s most recognised and celebrated fashion blogs, Stolen Inspiration, narrated by Kendra Jeffery. Metropol talks to Kendra about her blue-chip blog status and a wild ride.

Kendra Jeffery of Stolen Inspiration

You’ve commanded a significant following with your fashion blog, how do you curate content that appeals to a diverse audience?

I try to make content that I’d like to see and read myself. I think this appeals to a variety of different people because it’s authentic and people appreciate that – especially now that blogging has become so lucrative. Being open and honest with my readers is always my number one policy.

Tell us about the launch of your YouTube channel. How did you decide on this as an additional platform?

Diving into YouTube has been a natural progression from my blog and the content I create for it. I’ve really enjoyed being able to show my readers another side of my life and personality through videos – something I feel static blog posts can lack. It’s also a lot of fun creatively to challenge myself in a different way.

What do you think is original about NZ fashion compared with the rest of the world?

There’s a lot more experimentation rather than sticking to a particular style in NZ. If you want to dress fancy one day but in Birkenstocks and jeans the next, no one would give it a second thought. We get the best of both worlds, because we are loyal to our laid-back nature but aren’t afraid to try new trends and make them our own.

What have been some of your most breathtaking moments on this creative journey?

There have been so many, but most memorable was my trip to NYC. Being recognised for your creativity and flown there to explore it was unreal. Never in a million years would I have thought such an unbelievable opportunity could come from my 15-year-old self making a little internet blog when she was bored.

American Express Openair Cinema

Events guide: Five things well worth leaving home for

The temperatures may have begun their downward descent, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to lock yourselves inside! We’ve gone in search of some of the hottest events around that will be sure to bring some warmth to your autumn.

American Express Openair Cinema
American Express Openair Cinema

Food, fun and flicks:

American Express is bringing the Openair Cinema festival of food, fun and flicks to Rauora Park from 15 March to 1 April.
There will be an array of alternative entertainment, live music and DJ performances before the latest and greatest feature films light up the big screen.
Better yet, you can bring along a ‘Doggy Date’! Pampered pooches will receive the VID treatment with a pawfect picnic platter of doggy delights and their own canine couch. Tickets start at $13 and are on-sale now at www.openaircinemas.co.nz.

Jump for charity:

Some of the country’s leading horse and pony riders are getting in behind the New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation with the second annual Jump for Cancer Hagley charity event at North Hagley Park on 25 March.
St. Margaret’s College students will be collecting donations on behalf of the New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation and food vendors will be selling everything from coffee and gelato to gourmet pizzas and potatoes.
General admission is free with VIP tickets available from www.eventbrite.co.nz. To find out more, head to the Jump for Cancer Hagley Facebook page.

Middle-aged man in lycra!

Following a sell-out premiere season across New Zealand, much-loved Kiwi actor Mark Hadlow remounts for a final ride into Christchurch in the acclaimed one man show, MAMIL (middle-aged man in Lycra), in all its lurid lycra glory for ‘Le Tour d’Isaac’, from Thursday 31 May to Saturday 2 June at the Isaac Theatre Royal.
Shining as the affable, yet uncomfortably relatable anti-hero in the one-man show, Hadlow commands the stage. With his energetic presence and childlike enthusiasm to the character, he breathes life into the cleverly crafted monologues to delight even the most stoic of MAMIL-phobes.

Colourful fun :

All the colour and fun of a carnival is coming to Cathedral Square on Saturday 24 February.
The popular Latino market is heading into the city from 4pm to 8pm on so you can enjoy a delicious culinary collection of Latin street food, live music, art and craft and, of course, the warmth of the local Latin community.
There will also be workshops, a dance floor and performances with Latin rhythms (including capoeira and samba do Brasil). So bring your most colourful clothing – and your dancing shoes – and prepare for a night of colourful fun.

A catwalk crusade:

Designers and celebrities are set to hit the catwalk on Thursday 12 April wearing the latest New Zealand fashion.
Guests at the annual M Factor Fashion Show will see collections from the likes of Annah Stretton, Augustine, Repertoire, Trelise Cooper and many more to raise funds for Ronald McDonald House Charities New Zealand and Ronald McDonald House South Island.
Held at 7pm on Thursday 12 April at The Transitional Cathedral, tickets are available at ticketmaster.co.nz and are priced at $75 for VIP, $55 for General Admission and $20 for children and students.