New Zealand has an array of well respected designers, where each brand has their own distinctive style. We may be situated at the corner of the world, but there are many talented and creative Kiwi fashion designers locally and internationally. The very first New Zealand designers I heard of that come to mind are Karen Walker, Kate Sylvester and Trelise Cooper. Some of my favourite collections from this years designers are Eugenie’s Autumn/Winter Collection 2017, as well as Karen Walker’s Pre-Fall Collection 2017.
If we go back in time, I was 14 when I started my first job at a cafe, and this meant taking responsibility for buying some of my own things. As a country girl, we would go into the city 2-4 times a month. I remember feeling satisfied with being able to buy my own clothes that I’d worked for. In my first year of uni in 2013, I would buy several items each month, and at the end of the year they were either left in the wardrobe or only worn 2-3 times. This taught me a lesson on choosing wisely, spending your money on clothing that will last and embracing your personal style. Over the years, I noticed the only pieces of clothing that I never threw away were predominantly my black clothes.
Our wardrobes should be filled with clothing that we will wear and make use of. In the book L’art de la Simplicité, it talks about how the things we own should have a purpose. This is why it’s important to purchase things that are good quality, long lasting and reflects who you are, in order to be useful. Minimalism doesn’t mean that you need to have the style of only wearing black, white and grey, because well, everyone has a different style. It simply means simplifying your life, not just in clothing materials, but in your lifestyle, relationships, mindset and so on. Decluttering is beneficial in the mind as well as our surroundings, as it sets free unnecessary thoughts and allows a clearer mind.
I think it’s important to mention that minimalism doesn’t mean that you only have seven items in your wardrobe, that you wear for each day of the week. It’s a reminder that we don’t need a lot in order to be happy in our lives, and that we should embrace the things we have. Therefore, you create a sense of satisfaction that isn’t attached to materials, and you have an appreciation for what you do have. It gives a sense of cleanliness and keeps your lifestyle simple, creating a space with less stress. Creating a habit of buying things of good quality means you spend wisely and am more thoughtful about what you’ll realistically use or wear for the next several years.
For fashion lovers, you should embrace your personal style, because it means you don’t buy something impulsively or for instant gratification. I remember in my teenage years, I used to buy things that in the end were not worn anymore because they didn’t completely connect with who I am. Now, I tend to buy from secondhand stores, choose more carefully or only purchase things that reflect my style. Minimalism in Fashion also ties into our lifestyle and the way we live. We live in a society that often feeds off of our fears and insecurities to make a profit, and unfortunately, we are used to this. However, the materials we own shouldn’t be a reflection of our self-worth.
Minimalism lessened my anxiety in my everyday life and made my lifestyle far more comfortable and far more stress-free. Life felt much more meaningful and enjoyable once I let go of toxic friendships, bad habits, unhealthy thinking and letting go of items that I had an emotional attachment to, but didn’t hold any value or use in my life. In The Minimalists, it says Minimalism is the thing that gets us past the things so we can make room for life’s most important things—which actually aren’t things at all.
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Edun is a sustainable fashion label, found in 2005 by Ali Hewson and her husband, Bono. Its collections of clothing, accessories and jewellery are a reflection of local craftsmanship. The Fall collection features an eclectic, bold colourful palette and elusive design collective drew inspiration for textures and hues from the contemporary artist Mickalene Thomas. Featuring graphic patterns, cropped motorcycle jacket, chunky sweaters and zebra prints. The clothes were crafted in partnership with several different organisations Africa, including the Ethical Fashion Initiative in Burkina Faso and designer Carole Nevin in South Africa. All images from original website
In a strange but warm way, secondhand shopping makes me feel like I’m going to a shelter to adopt a cat and give it the love it deserves. It’s giving the piece of clothing another chance to be worn. It feels good to recycle and purchase something at a lower price in good quality. I was thrift shopping today and ended up purchasing a beautiful satin peach dress for $7. While I was browsing there was a pair of Gucci shoes for a tiny fraction of the original price. I remember finding a Stella McCartney dress for $30 in Sydney and it was in mint condition. Secondhand shopping is such a wonderful option for those on a budget or for anyone who wants to support less clothing ending up in landfills each year.
1. Recycle Boutique is a consignment based fashion company specialising in helping you buy and sell your secondhand designer clothing. They are a fast and easy platform to recycle your wardrobe. Whether you’re looking for that designer piece or a quirky vintage gem, they have one of the largest selections of recycled designer clothing in New Zealand. At present, a lot of our clothing is ending up in landfills throughout New Zealand. We need to recycle our secondhand clothing in order to reduce this textile waste in these landfills.
2. Tatty’s has a city outlet on High St, with a mixture of designer and vintage clothing. They also have a nice range of shoes, where I even spotted a pair of PAZZO boots! It was almost like a hidden little treasure on the street, as I must have walked past the store many times before I stepped inside. From the outside, it appears small, but as you walk in, there is a huge range of clothing inside for men and women. Everything is colour coordinated, similar to Recycle Boutique.
3. Paper Bag Princess was one of the first thrift shops I’d been to. They have affordable secondhand clothing, with branded seconded hand clothing and awesome 70s, 80s and 90s vintage clothing, theres something for everyone. Paper Bag Princess is always on the look out for cool new trends and endeavours to find the coolest items for the customers. Keep New Zealand beautiful and purchase second hand to limit textile waste and support a sustainable fashion industry. Paper Bag Princess loves to support charities around New Zealand and donates proceeds to a variety of charities.
4. Crushes is a vintage clothing and handcrafted goods stores. It all began in 2011 when Sarah and Rose decided to start their own business together. Then called The Bread and Butter Letter, it is inspired to design and manufacture affordable New Zealand made goods. They started their own in-house lifestyle label, Crushes in 2018. A place where ethical and sustainable is practised and promoted. Crushes is a concept store that celebrates conscious consumerism by selling quality wearable vintage clothing, alongside functional lifestyle goods from New Zealand makers and designers.
5. magichollow is a thrift store for your American Vintage Clothing offering a unique collection of clothing. Their team travels to the USA regularly to hand pick the coolest, most diverse vintage clothing available. magichollow is here for the growing community of people sick of the mundane and mass-produced. People who want to express their unique identity and feel really good about what they’re wearing. Last year they recycled 7,000 kg of vintage clothing. Most of that would have ended up in land fill. Their aim is to double that just as soon as we can. All of the clothing is expertly curated, cleaned and cared for.
Back in 2015, I studied at a fashion college in Sydney, after realising how much time I spent during university reading about fashion and immersing myself into it. I love the way you could express yourself through the clothing you wore, without having to say a word. I love the creativity behind fashion in creating a piece of clothing. I’m sure if you asked anyone what does fashion mean to you? Each person would have a different answer. Self-expression is important, and the ability to choose what you wear is an instant way to tell others how you see yourself, and perhaps how you want others to see you.
Personal style is more important than trends, as it means that you can reflect and be yourself authentically. However, that isn’t to say you can’t wear something that’s trending if you like it. Personal style simply means not just wearing things just because it’s ‘in fashion’ or trending, but developing your own personal style. Fashion is important. Whether some may disagree, there’s no doubt that it’s something that encompasses our daily life because, well, everyone wears clothes! When we watch films, look at art or read a book, we see, feel or read descriptions of clothing.
Last month I was at the museum, and as I walked through the different periods of history, I could see how much fashion changes with time. It’s a part of culture, history, identity, a person’s personality and artistic design. It can also be a form of hiding and disguising or open expression of our identity. In its functional elements, it ultimately keeps us warm, covered and comfortable. Fashion is a form of communication. It can emote feelings, portray images, be visually pleasing or give us inspiration.
We can communicate how we’re feeling, how we see ourselves, what we like and maybe shed a little part of our personality in what we choose to wear. There’s often a conception that the fashion industry is shallow, due to the visual elements. However, we wouldn’t be wearing the clothing we’re in right now, if the fashion industry didn’t exist. We wouldn’t be able to go into a store to purchase a clothing for certain occasions or find something that we feel comfortable or stylish wearing.
What does fashion mean to you?
“Don’t be into trends. Don’t make fashion own you, but you decide what you are, what you want to express by the way you dress and the way you live.” – Gianni Versace
photography caves collect
Eugenie is a New Zealand brand designed by Elizabeth Wilson. Her designs are all made in New Zealand, and she has a boutique in Ponsonby. Wilson studied at Otago University to be a product and graphic designer, then went to work in advertising at Y&R. She completed a graduate diploma in fashion. From there she worked as a design assistant for Karen Walker’s design assistant. Then she went back to graphic design working at Mi Piaci and Overland.
Eugénie is designed to celebrate modern, smart, creative women. It emphasises the character, wit and individuality of the wearer through a look that blends tomboy cool with art-house chic. The main focus is on fresh day wear, where the practicality and pure cut of menswear shine through, for an evening a sensuous streak emerges, with pieces that celebrate the fun and power of the feminine. As a feminist label, Eugénie is committed to ethical manufacturing.
Photography by Imogen Wilson for Oyster Magazine
Stella McCartney launched her first collection in Paris in October 2001. As a vegetarian, she does not use any leather or fur in her designs. McCartney’s signature style consists of sharp tailoring, natural confidence and sexy femininity. She has an eco-friendly ethos which is reflected in her designs.Stella McCartney’s commitment to sustainability is evident through-out all her collections and is part of the brand’s ethos to being a responsible, honest, and modern company. They are the world’s first and only vegetarian luxury brand. They believe that no animal should give their life for the sake of fashion.
The Summer collection is introduced by: Celebrating the collection’s spirit of life and love with the ease of summer, our latest campaign finds inspiration in France’s Côte d’Azur, set in the grounds of Eileen Gray’s iconic villa E-1027 amidst Le Corbusier’s modernist murals. The season’s corset tailoring, textured vegetarian ultra-suede and printed surf-inspired Lycra are captured through Harley Weir’s lens on models originally cast in our Summer 2017 runway show, depicting the vibrancy and softness in movement of the collection. This season features an uplifting ‘All is Love’ message by contemporary artist Urs Fischer.
Minimalism may leave one thinking of a Zen garden or a spacious room. Over the years, I’ve decluttered and cleaned out many things that are not needed, or only take up space. They no longer serve a purpose, and are often a piece of paper with a note or a pair of shoes that you never wear. It’s only kept for its sentimental value. Of course, there will always be the bits and bobs that always stay with us. They give us a deep memory of a person or time. Minimalism is often known as cleaning out the materials you have. However, it is also the art of letting go and living with less. It gives time to focus on the important things in life. It means letting go of not only clothes, but having more space and time to accomplish things.
It means letting go of a friendship that may be causing you strain, travelling with only the necessities, treasuring what you have, spending less time buying, being focused on the positives, eating healthy and being more productive in your life. It makes the focus less on materials, and more on experiences and people. As someone who has period of moments where I experience anxiety, the art of letting go has been extremely helpful. It’s made my anxiety improve a lot compared to two years ago. It made me recognise how much time we can spend thinking about things that don’t matter. It also reminds us how important it is to look at the simplicity of life. The biggest creator of stress is when we imagine all the complicated scenarios that don’t end up happening.
Minimalism doesn’t mean I can’t buy this or that. It doesn’t mean that my house should feel empty or my wardrobe should hardly have any clothes. It means that in these cases, we will ask ourselves Do I really need it? and will I value it for a long time or is it something I will throw away at the end of the year. It also means not having too much emotional attachment with materials, but rather have a focus on our relationships, health, education and passions. It’s putting your time on what gives you true long term happiness, rather than the short term gains. When we live with less, we live with less negative thoughts and more contentment. We’re more present and spend time using our creativity, rather than consuming things.
We all want to feel fulfilled and at peace in our own life. Living life with less, means that we look for our happiness in life itself, rather than the clothes, makeup, car or house we have. Minimalism means letting go of unnecessary materials, bad habits, toxic people and negative thoughts. It allows one to focus on living a more meaningful and rewarding life. Some of the richest people in life are those who have experienced the world, seen many wonderful things and met many inspiring people. They feel completely fulfilled through the experiences they have. Whereas a poor person could be someone who may live in a large house with everything, but feel completely unsatisfied in their life.
Think of when you walk to the garage sale in the neighbourhood, or walk into a store of new clothes. We are all able to choose what we buy and take home. That in itself is something we are so fortunate to be able to do. We can choose this brand or the other, this style of clothing or that one. It means that there are endless options, and we have to make a choice of what we want to buy. It can sometimes lead to those buying what is trending and popular, which leads to discarding the item in the end, or some may buy what they truly like. When we buy what we truly like and need, we also embrace our own style, our differences and recognise the things we will cherish.
If I go window shopping and see a lovely coat or dress, the first thing I ask myself is “Do I need it?” and then I ask myself “How often will I wear this?”. Usually that helps me know if this is a long term purchase or simply a spontaneous purchase. That way you will know if this is something you’ll use in future. This mindset also helps when saving money, and avoiding buying several things that you won’t need in a years time. It also teaches one to really value what they have. Clothing is a great example, and when we think of our most loved clothing, we think about how it’s been worn for years and years. We can’t imagine throwing it out, unless the threads start loosening.
Photography by Elif Yalim
The Wellington based fashion label, is a Certified fair trade organic clothing that is ethically and sustainably made from seed to garment. What’s really wonderful, is that fashion labels, such as kowtow, defy the classic fast fashion system that is taken place globally. It is a fashion label that sets fair ethical examples, does not follow trends, while having an individual personality within its clothing. This makes it much more personable, in the fact that many people can relate to wearing the clothing and be comfortable in knowing that it has been made in a fair manner. Unfortunately, as a society, we very much and very often only see what is shown to us on the surface. We are fed what is on the plate, without knowing what happens behind the scenes.
Fashion is a multi-billion dollar industry, where the speed of consumerism and waste is every increasing. I really believe that businesses such as kowtow, are representing a positive change that is needed. Slave trade is still occurring every single day, yet many of us are not aware of it. Ethical brands such as kowtow, raise awareness that we need to create a safer and fair environment for workers, as well as the use of 100% fair trade certified cotton. Our clothes are produced from hours and hours of hard work, where often employees are not paid fairly. However, the label is open in its honesty, in supporting their workers with free transport, paid holiday, living wage and factory pays for their social security and pension funds. The shoots below makes me amazed at how talented these people are who create the clothes we wear. I love the simplicity of the garments, and the black and lighter colours. The style enhances a longer silhouette and makes good everyday casual wear. It’s artistic, creative, structured and beautifully made.
All images from kowtow