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      photography Russell Kleyn 27 August 2015

      photographing dunedin's black brigade

      Meet the kids from New Zealand's moody south helping to put their city on the fashion map.

      photographing dunedin's black brigade photographing dunedin's black brigade photographing dunedin's black brigade

      Dunedin, aka Little Edinburgh, is very different to New Zealand's other cities. It is out on its own, way down South, with its roots in Scotland. It can be cold, dark, gloomy and mysterious. The textures and visual landscape are very different from the cities further north - the architecture is heavy, industrial, historical - stone and steel. It's an isolated city that has nevertheless been responsible for producing identifiable movements such as the 'Dunedin sound' in the 70s and emerging from that, the 'The New Zealand Look' formed in the mid 80s, thanks largely to fashion label NOM*d and its head designer Margarita Robinson. Her intuitive interpretation of her surroundings and the New Zealand psyche generally are, in large part, responsible for this pervading look. Margarita's loyalty to her hometown and her influence is draped all over the kids you meet on the street. We travelled to Dunedin to meet some of the people carrying the flag.

      Bernhard Willhelm jumper, Kowtow backpack, Company of Strangers jewellery, NOM*D pants, Comme Des Garçons x Dr Martens loafers.

      Alannah Kwant, 19

      Where are you from? Christchurch, New Zealand.

      What do you do? I rent a studio in town with five amazing women who share this space with me, I mostly sew. I am also part of Fresh n' Fruity, a gallery/collective. We currently have a physical space in Dunedin where we have a couple of shows a month. Doing that alongside working takes up most of my time.

      What did you get up to this past weekend? My friend, Jack Hill, had a fashion show to mark the opening of his store which I modelled in. One of my best friends graduated the next day so we celebrated at our studio.

      What was the last gig you went to? Opposite Sex CD Release with Astro Children and Strange Harvest at Chicks Hotel in Dunedin.

      How would you define your style? Dress to impress.

      Brixton hat, Spitfire shirt, NOM*D culottes, Stance socks, Dr. Martens shoes.

      Frances (Frankie) Jansen van Rensburg, 19

      Occupation? Barkeep.

      Where are you from? Johannesburg, South Africa.

      What do you do? I create things using fabric and yarn. Other than that I play Pokémon, cook eggs and rock around with my cat.

      What's the best thing about living in Dunedin? Flatting! In Dunedin, you can lease a room in a beautiful house for really cheap. The lounge in my house looks like it's part of the Shining's Overlook Hotel.

      How would you define your style? Eclectic. My style is ever changing and very colour-coordinated.

      What would you be doing in daily life if money wasn't an issue and you could do everything you'd like? Buy a French Bulldog and a house bus and travel New Zealand with my cat and my boyfriend.


      Op shop jacket, handmade top, Cheap Monday jeans, Adidas shoes.

      Jack Hill, 24

      Occupation? Aspiring fashion designer.

      Where are you from? Born in Christchurch, studied in Wellington and now living in Dunedin.

      What did you get up to this past weekend? Mostly working on my new shop space and catching up with friends who have come down for my show I had on Friday.

      What's the best thing about living in Dunedin? The rent is cheap, I feel like any one can do anything down here! And everyone is so friendly. I have just moved and it feels like I've been here for ages.

      What's your favourite thing to do in Dunedin? Playing table tennis and having some drinks. There's heaps of good BYO places to go for dinner to and I like rotating around my favourites I've found so far, and trying new ones.

      How would you define your style? It changes a lot every day I think, but usually has some elements of utility and uniform in there, I always try to look tidy.


      Mac Lady Danger lipstick, Vintage leather vest, Zambezi top, Company of Strangers slip, Silence and Noise leather harness, JPALM Bomber jacket, necklace, clutch, Company of Strangers rings, Dr. Martens boots.

      Julia Palm, 25

      Where are you from? Lidköping, Sweden.

      What do you do? I design for my own brand JPALM and am in my final semester of my fashion degree. I spend most of my time working away at my collaborative studio, THE FAX CLUB.

      What's your favourite thing to do in Dunedin? Attending exhibition openings, gigs and cafe dates, but also a short drive to millions of amazing beaches and wild coasts. 

      What music are you listening to at the moment? Chelsea Wolfe (USA), Death and The Maiden (NZ) and Womb (NZ).

      How would you define your style? Minimal neo-goth-punk-chic.

      Which fashion designers inform your style? I am a huge fan girl of Claire Barrow, Simone Rocha and Phoebe English. My number one idols are Acne, Celine and Maison Martin Margiela.


      Op shop turtleneck, grey jumper, black plants, jacket, Grinders boots.

      Kimmi Rindel, 18

      Where are you from? South Africa.

      What do you do? Art student and gallery girl at Fresh and Fruity.

      What did you get up to this past weekend? Went to the official opening of Jack Hill on 140 George St on Friday night and marched with a friend for her graduation on Saturday.

      What's your favourite thing to do in Dunedin? Exploring, ghost hunting; many buildings around town and my neighbourhood are empty, or at the very least left unlocked often. Second best is night-time drives to the beach.

      Which fashion designers inform your style? Perks and Mini and Verner.

      Are you in love? In love with my fantasies of summer lol #itssocoldinthed


      Rick Owens t-shirt, Comme des Garcons culottes, Kris Van Assche sneakers, Rebecca Scarlet jewellery.

      Krue Love, 19

      Where are you from? Gore, Southland.

      What do you do? Retail Assistant at PLUME and I do a bit of modelling here in Dunedin.

      What did you get up to this past weekend? Smashed out a Kath and Kim omnibus, accompanied with copious amounts of tea.

      What's the best thing about living in Dunedin? The fact that you're literally 5 minutes away from the beach.

      What music are you listening to at the moment? Have been listening to Pet Shop Boys and a bit of Siouxsie And The Banshees recently.

      Which fashion designers inform your style? I would have to say I enjoy Rick Owens as designer and I take cues from that sense of dressing. I also really enjoy NOM*D and that sense of style as well.


      Op shop slip dress, op shop corduroy jacket, t-shirt from friend, Converse sneakers.

      Lara Nicholson, 17 

      Where are you from? Dunedin, NZ.

      What do you do? I sleep as late as I can and watch cartoons and read and draw. 

      What did you get up to this past weekend? This past weekend I got drunk with friends and ate hungover pizza.

      What's the best thing about living in Dunedin? The best thing about Dunedin is the trees and the gloom.

      What's your favourite thing to do in Dunedin? My favourite thing to do in Dunedin is skulk around and try and find someplace warm to curl up.

      How would you define your style? I think my style could be defined as messy.

      What would you be doing in daily life if money wasn't an issue and you could do everything you'd like? If money wasn't an issue, I'd have so many pets I'd be drowning in them and a big glasshouse and expensive clothes.

      Countdown scrunchie, Jack Hill dress, Cheap Monday jeans, Nike Air Force 1s, Gucci bag (fake), op shop coat.

      Laura Johnstone, 23

      Occupation? Soon-to-be lawyer…. hopefully.

      Where are you from? Christchurch, I moved to Dunedin a few months ago.

      What did you get up to this past weekend? Helped my boyfriend, Jack Hill, do his opening show and prepped my law work, amongst copious TradeMe searches for dogs.

      What music are you listening to at the moment? Hip hop.

      What was the last gig you went to? Nas in Auckland.

      How would you define your style? Limited by cash flow.

      Which fashion designers inform your style? Donatella Versace, Rick Owens and Jack Hill.


      Zeus cycling top, Balenciaga t-shirt, Ksubi jeans and jacket, Commes des Garçons Hommes Plus top, Stan Smith sneakers.

      Lily Van Buskirk, 17

      Occupation? High school girl.

      Where are you from? Massachusetts, USA.

      What do you do? Fashion modelling.

      What did you get up to this past weekend? A fashion show for a new brand's store opening, hanging out in the studios of Fresh and Fruity gallery, painting.

      What's the best thing about living in Dunedin? Everywhere that you want to be is within walking distance.

      How would you define your style? Everything I think is cool at the time in one big outfit until I move on to the next idea.

      What would you be doing in daily life if money wasn't an issue and you could do everything you'd like? I'd still have to go to high school so it wouldn't make much of a difference.


      Rick Owens tunic, Jimmy D Dress, NOM*D dress, Happy socks, Dr. Martens shoes.

      Lou Bond, 24

      Where are you from? Dunedin. Amberley originally.

      What do you do? Shop girl at PLUME, freelance life-styler, lazy creative genius.

      What's the best thing about living in Dunedin? It's easy, which may also be the worst thing.

      What's your favourite thing to do in Dunedin? Wine and dine myself, stare at the ocean, wear layers.

      Which fashion designers inform your style? Vivienne Westwood, Rodarte, Ashley Williams, YSL, NOM*D.


      NOM*D backpack bomber, tee, skirt, Rick Owens boots.

      Margarita Robertson, 62

      Occupation? Founder and Director of NOM*D and PLUME.

      Where are you from? Dunedin, New Zealand.

      What did you get up to this past weekend? Celebrated my granddaughter's 12th birthday, worked on our winter 16 collection, had a manicure.

      What's the best thing about living in Dunedin? The coolness.

      What music are you listening to at the moment? Nick Cave.

      How would you define your style? Dark.

      Which fashion designers inform your style? Comme des Garçons, Rick Owens, Martin Margiela (archives), Helmut Lang (archives).

      Are you in love? Yes, I love my family more than anything else in the world.


      Limedrop socks, Marks and Spencer shirt, op shop dress, jacket, Lou Clifton bag.

      Mya Morrison Middleton, 21

      Where are you from? Dunedin and Adelaide.

      What do you do? I recently graduated with an art history degree and I co-direct a gallery/ collective called Fresh and Fruity.

      What's the best thing about living in Dunedin? It's a great platform for projects. There are so many upcoming project spaces and people excited to experiment with art and fashion. I also love the Gothic architecture in the city and the sleepy coast.

      What music are you listening to at the moment? Drake, Banoffee and Princess Nokia.

      How would you define your style? Ariana Grande in a turtle neck.

      Which fashion designers inform your style? I really love Ekhaus and Latta but I'm really inspired by what I find op-shopping here.


      Second hand coat, Zara jumper, second hand pants, 1900 shoes, signet ring, stööki ring.

      Paul Pourcelot, 19

      Occupation? Student in Fashion Design.

      Where are you from? Tours, France.

      What do you do? I'm on exchange in Dunedin for a semester from my school in Geneva, Switzerland called HEAD.

      What's the best thing about living in Dunedin? It's a pretty little city but there is a surprising energy here. People are really friendly and welcoming. It's a nice place to create. There are lots of things to do.

      Which fashion designers inform your style? It's not designers that inform my style, it's what I see during the day.


      Second hand embroidered woollen coat, ring from great aunt.

      Rata Honey Grace Scott von Tippelskirch, 20

      Where are you from? Aotearoa.

      What do you do? I'm a Sculpture student. I try to hatch art, design clothes, think about cosmology. I also make ambient, drone, noise tracks, play quite a bit of Debussy on the piano and do a lot of finger biting due to all the political mess out there.

      What did you get up to this past weekend? I collected lots of human hair for a piece I'm working on, protested against the TPPA, went to some art and fashion openings and a house gig.

      What's your favourite thing to do in Dunedin? Hang out at the studio, go to gigs and exhibitions, walk around the semi post-apocalyptic industrial, harbour area and stand by the heater.

      What music are you listening to at the moment? Arca, Banoffee, Puce Mary, Björk and a lot of Holly Herndon.

      How would you define your style? Fully op shopped. Personal comfort always prevails. 

      Which fashion designers inform your style? Sandra Backlund is amazing and I guess Manish Arora, Anton Belinskiy, P.A.M. and Elsa Schiaparelli.


      Maaike tee, Jimmy D dress, NOM*D gun gloves, I Love Ugly pants, Merino socks, Dr. Martens shoes. 

      Siala Farani-Tomlin, 24

      Where are you from? Auckland, originally.

      What do you do? Coffee kid and sometimes student.

      What did you get up to this past weekend? Started a zine.

      What was the last gig you went to? Kane Strange band at Golden Dawn.

      Which fashion designers inform your style? Yeha Leung, Lela Jacobs.

      What would you be doing in daily life if money wasn't an issue and you could do everything you'd like? Sewing outrageously impractical garments and reading. Constantly.

      Related: Jack Hill is an NZ Designer Owning DIY

      Credits

      Text and Photography Russell Kleyn

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      Topics:dunedin, new zealand, plume, fresh and fruity, company of strangers, nom*d, photography, fashion portraits, straight ups, art, culture

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