New Zealand Fashion Week report

Good’s summary of NZ Fashion Week and what we thought was cool.

By Carolyn Enting

Being mindful of their fashion footprint was a key driver for many designers at New Zealand Fashion Week 2017 including Ovna Ovich.

New comer Ovna Ovich

Label Ovna Ovich was born from designer Marina Davis’ desire to make clothing that respects our natural resources and people.

Like all of her collections to date her AW18 collection is sustainably focused.

“It’s a tight collection of fibres that I work with namely silks, organic cotton, linen,” says Davis. “This season I’ve also been working with handwoven organic cotton naturally dyed with indigo. I also work with deadstock fabrics, end of rolls so that’s where the lurex comes in. I haven’t really found a zip that I feel okay about using so my collection always features a whole bunch of buttons which at the moment are nut buttons from palm trees and paua shells that have been sustainably farmed.”


Ovna Ovich. Photography Olivia Hemus for M.A.C.

Luxury upcycling

Tanya Carlson marked her 10-year hiatus from New Zealand Fashion Week with a triumphant show with a twist. Instead of presenting an autumn/winter 2018 like most designers she presented a collection of one-off handcrafted garments created from upcycled fabrics from her archive. The collection, now available in store at Carlson, received a standing ovation.

“It’s amazing to be able to add value and give new life to these fabrics from my archive ­– or to transform old pieces into something new,” says Carlson. “As designers, we waste so much fabric, even as we’re trying to conserve it. There is something incredibly satisfying about giving these old offcuts new life.”


Carlson. Photography Michael Ng

Neo Kind

In her first New Zealand Fashion Week show designer Rachel Mills chose an installation over a traditional runway show to present her AW2018 collection Neo Kind.

Models posed on and around loveseats, stools and platforms made from recycled cardboard coves wearing pieces the Blitz Kids movement of the early ‘80s. But where these kids harnessed a throwaway culture, Neo Kind strives for the opposite in an attempt to slow down and bring longevity to the glitzy aesthetic.

“Neo meaning ‘new’, ‘kind’ the new kind of generation of people who care about where their clothes come from, and the use of organic and recycled fabrics,” Mills explains. And also being kinder to people and kind to the environment as well.”

For her collection she used a mix of organic plant dyed denim, fabric offcuts and old sheets and pillow cases cut into strips and knitted into statement bags and tube tops.

“We are quite lucky in Auckland to have fabric suppliers who buy the remnants from some of the larger fashion houses and import them here so I feel like that is kind of friendly in a way, using something that is already been made and not creating a bigger footprint,” says Mills.


Rachel Mills

A statement on the seasons

Wynn Hamlin designer Wynn Crawshaw based his AW18 collection on the dysfunction of seasons in fashion and also the irregularities brought about by climate change. The collection was deliberately styled with represent both seasons with models wearing puffer-like corsets over dresses and wide brim sunhats by Helen Kaminski and a make-up look to invoke skin exposed to the elements.

Several glasshouses provided the backdrop for Wynn Hamlin’s sophisticated runway show, a statement on greenhouse effect. The runway was also scattered with carpets created in collaboration with The Flooring Foundation and artist Kelly Thompson who created the carpet illustrated with simultaneously blooming and wilting flowers.


Wynn Hamlin. Photography Sophia Bogiatto

Snow tribe

The inspiration for the make-up for Lela Jacobs AW18 collection was a snow tribe returned from the mountains to rest.

Jacobs, who prefers to call herself a maker rather than a designer, knows the providence of every material she works with for her craft.

The presentation held at Silo Park was beautifully intense, where models walked through the inner sanctum of the silos to live percussion music – recorders, drums and tapping.


Lela Jacobs. Photography Olivia Hemus for M.A.C.

Bagged it

Wellington accessory brand Yu Mei bagged it again at its second New Zealand Fashion Week presentation.

Last year designer Jessie Wong showed fashion media and buyers how she made the bags with a practical demonstration.

This year she bedecked The Tent at Fashion Week with an arty installation showing off her collection of beautiful bags – each handcrafted in Wellington from New Zealand deer nappa.

Each bag design is born from the ethos that simplicity is complexity resolved, built for purpose to carry with ease.

For her AW18 collection ‘ceci n’est pas un sac’ Wong collaborated with artist Aima Proenca.


Artist Aima Procenca and Yu Mei designer Jessie Wong. Photography: Carolyn Enting

Keeping up the quality

Quality has been an enduring element of the Zambesi label for more than 30 years and that shown through again this year through its thoughtfully curated collection.

Selected as this year’s Mercedes-Presents designer, Zambesi joined a global club of the world’s top fashion designers, recognising its dedication to high quality, locally made garments that reflect realism and imagination.


Zambesi. Photography Olivia Hemus for M.A.C.

Magic Orchard

Jewellery designer Nick von K unveiled his new collection Magic Orchard as part of the K Road Presents showcase.

This magical collection was inspired by von K’s love of nature and memories of climbing trees and adventuring around the islands of the Hauraki Gulf as a child.

The collection draws on the simple beauty of nature, when golden afternoons were an adventure of beauty and discovery, and when life was simple and you were free to climb trees, find nests and dream your dreams.

Pieces include a pohutukawa tree carved from Mother of Pearl, and a fantail in its nest, all made out of quality sterling silver.


Nick von K

Floral fantasy

Bridal designer Trish Peng also looked to nature for her finale gown presented at the New Zealand Weddings show.

The perfume emitted from the gown left viewers in no doubt that it was indeed a dress made entirely of real blooms.

The gown, made entirely of thousands of New Zealand grown flowers, was a collaboration between Peng and the National Flower Promotion Group who promote and celebrate locally New Zealand-grown, high quality flowers and foliage. It featured 12 types of different flowers including carnations, hellebores, roses and chrysanthemums.

trishpeng.com and newzealandweddings.co.nz

Trish Peng’s gown crafted from real flowers. Photography Norrie Montgomery

The Volcanic Lovers

Jimmy D designer James Dobson was inspired by French volcanologist couple Katie and Maurice Krafft.

The thoughtfully designed collection of impeccable pieces culminated with a silver suit – referencing the silver heat resistant suits worn by the Krafft’s.

For the collection Dobson also collaborated with Meadowlark jewellery who took perfect disks of silver and brutally but beautifully crumpled them, some paired with burnt matchsticks in oxidised silver – the perfect reminder of the power of fire.

M.A.C Cosmetics key make-up artist Kiekie Stanners used flashes of silver crystal on the models faces inspired by the volcanic explorers.

The couple died in a pyroclastic flow on Mt Unzen, Japan.


Jimmy D. Photography Olivia Hemus for M.A.C Cosmetics

Sweet revenge

Dunedin label Company of Strangers, which made it name using upcycled leather, presented a covetable collection of chunky cable knits including slouchy turtlenecks and scarves.

Sweaters were split with button closures to allow the wearer to wrap, twist and contort for multiple wearing options.

The AW18 collection ‘Revenge’ an effortless mix of masculine and feminine.


Company of Strangers. Photography Olivia Hemus for M.A.C Cosmetics

Gentle Savages

Comfort and edge combined effortlessly with quality and creativity for Federation’s AW18 collection ‘Gentle Savages’.

Designers Jenny Joblin and Ben Dundas managed to mix the edginess of streetwear with a touch of luxe and high-end design by mixing soft pastels and punches of strong colours.

The statement collection also featured Joblin’s distinct handwriting and beautiful slogans including the words ‘Be Kind’ running down the leg of a pair of pants.

Each piece is designed with comfort and ease-of-wear in mind. “Our goal is to create pieces that bring a bit of excitement to people’s wardrobes and make them super happy every time they put them on,” says Joblin. “But still I want them to be comfortable and know they are wearing something really high-quality.”



Human Kind

The play on the word ‘kind’ continued at Salasai with the narrative of its AW18 collection ‘Human Kind’ spoke of unity and peace. A clear calling for kind and acceptance, regardless of religion, race, social status and the borders from which we come.

The collection’s signature print depicts global imagery from Israel to Polynesia, Europe to Japan, USA to China and South Africa.


Salasai’s Human Kind. Photography Adam Bryce

Hail Hailwood

Designer Adrian Hailwood looked to the glamour of the 70s for inspiration for his AW18 collection that incorporated everything he does best – streetwear and glam.

Hailwood is proudly Child Free Manufacturing accredited too.


Hailwood. Photography Olivia Hemus for M.A.C Cosmetics

Electric Dreams

Inspired by Blade Runner’s ‘80s futurism, electric colour sat alongside tough neutrals of khaki, nude and moody blue at Kate Sylvester.

The Child Labor Free manufacturing accredited designer also looked to 1940s silhouettes for inspiration.

Sci-fi and futuristic fashion was a key trend throughout the week. Sylvester presented her version with a galactic silver lurex dress and sharp two-piece with a glinting gold button.


Kate Sylvester

Back to the future

The audience was transported to the ‘90s, and then zapped to the future by Stolen Girlfriends Club presentation of its current collection Safer Than Heaven.

This year’s collection puts a strong focus on leather goods, including an oversized silver biker jacket with a detachable pest-possum fur collar.

The epic show was presented to a 1000-strong audience in a Grey Lynn warehouse where models popped through sheet-plastic walls before being torn down entirely to reveal a live performance by Dunedin band Death and the Maiden.

Should mention that Stolen Girlfriends Club is Child Labor Free manufacturing accredited too!


Stolen Girlfriends Club. Photography Jason Tran

Footwear fashion

Kathyrn Wilson footwear injected fun into New Zealand Fashion Week with a high energy show led by a special appearance of illustrator Kelly Thompson (who illustrates for Good magazine).

Wilson showed her current SS17/18 collection in store now, which features bright colours and embroidered heels.


Kathryn Wilson. Photography Olivia Hemus for M.A.C Cosmetics.

Active wear at Andrea Moore

Andrea Moore launched her AM Fit line and swim line with an energetic and fun aerobics performance local influencers.

The show opened with a beautiful ballet performance by members of the Royal New Zealand Ballet wearing tropical prints, before the influencers exploded onto the stage with their high energy moves.

Moore says she wants to encourage women to be bold, push the boundaries and have fun with fashion. “We want our customers to feel special, confident and most importantly empowered,” says Moore.

She also presented her I AM and Andrea Moore collections, the latter inspired by the orient.

The hair is also worth a mention, braided with limited edition Swarovski KELA charms.


AM Fit by Andrea Moore


Streetwear label Huffer closed fashion week with a massive 20th birthday celebration in front of more than 2000 people at Auckland’s Spark Arena.

Designer Steve Dunstan has also teamed up with Audi again to bring New Zealand a limited edition car of which only 20 will be produced and based off the back of the global Audi Q2 Edition One.


Huffer. Photography Olivia Hemus for M.A.C Cosmetics.
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