Wellington design duo Anjali Stewart and Rachel Easting of Twenty-seven names have been making a particular type of girl crazy with yearning for their shift dresses and preppy separates for some time now. We caught up with Anjali as the pair release their Summer 2012-13 collection, 'Nine Lives'. Have a read of the interview below or head over here to check out their Summer 2012-13 collection.
What was the starting point for SS2012-13?
Katherine Mansfeild's short story The Garden Party. We wanted to explore details and shapes from that inter-war era, and the uniforms worn by the working class. Not to mention cat, cats, and, more cats.
What were your influences and inspirations - fashion or otherwise - for the SS2012-13 collection?
It changes every season, but we always look to contemporary artists for inspiration while we’re designing our collections and before our photo shoots. And also the usual suspects music – especially hip hop, books – especially music ones, our friends.
You always put a big emphasis on prints. Tell us about the prints for this collection.
The cat cameo print is something that Rachel drew, as a guest of the garden party.
Our good friend Marta designed the floral with us this season. We wanted something unique and micro which would lend a vintage feel to the collection.
You approach the design process in an intellectual way: why do you think it's important to have an intellectual idea behind your work.
Each collection gives us an opportunity to learn about something new: it's a part of the process we really we really enjoy. Otherwise it might roll into 'is this the right button, what will it look like in black?'
How would you describe the Twenty-seven names aesthetic?
The label was once described as having an awkward charm and I think that describes the Twenty-seven names style well. We try to design clothes that we would want to wear, so we design with simplicity and wearability in mind, whilst being heavily influenced by vintage fashion and detailing.
If you had to have a celebrity wear your clothes who would it be?
Anyone reading this.
A celebrity: I think it'd be pretty cool if Kanye was keen to rock one of our shirts at his next Coachella appearance, dream big?
The fashion industry faces a few challenges today. Chain stores copy runway trends almost instantaneously, cutting a lot of the originators of these trends out of retail share. How does this sort of thing affect you?
It's hard out there! I spent on hour in Cuba Street collecting for W.R.C last month and I was stationed right outside Valley Girl. People were going crazy for that shit and I'm not just talking teenagers - woman of all ages were hitting it up hard.
Things have changed so much since we were at school, you had to save up to get a pair of Dickies or something really special from STREET. Glassons was SURVIVAL, and the lime green tee's weren't up to much. But now people have access to so much more for so much less.
The only way I think we can compete is to offer something truly original and detailed in a way you can't get at those chain stores. Doing original prints and focussing on not making garments similar to what already is on offer is how we are planning to compete.
Any other facets - positive or negative - of the fashion industry affecting you guys at the moment?
We're New Zealand made - which in my opinion is awesome. We're in business in New Zealand to contribute locally to the New Zealand economy, which may mean our garments are more expensive than those made off-shore so in that respect it can be hard for us to compete based purely on pricing, but I do think it is really important to support New Zealand made and the local rag trade.
What are the future plans for Twenty-seven names?
We're just in the throes of designing Winter 2013, we're working on our prints with Marta at the moment. It's an exciting time! Hopefully we'll be able to be involved in the up-coming New Zealand Fashion Week so watch this space.