maggie marilyn, georgia alice and claire hammon on the spirit of kiwi design

Maggie Marilyn, Georgia Alice and Meadowlark share a refined, modern aesthetic and a commitment to ethical production that all three credit, in part, to New Zealand. The designers have called the country home all their lives, each choosing to launch a...

by Rebecca Zephyr Thomas
18 July 2017, 3:42am

Claire in her Aukland studio. Hair and makeup Richard Symons. Leah wears Meadowlark, shirt Marquis Alemeida at The Shelter NZ.

Claire Hammon of Meadowlark

Growing up, was there a family member, or friend who sparked a love of fashion?
I'm not really a lover of fashion, more so a lover of clothing and design. I can't remember anyone in particular; drawing and being creative was just what we did. I do remember trying to make clothes out of old dyed petticoats when I was about 10, inspired by Madonna!

Tell us some of the highs and lows of working in the creative industries. 
The best part is the freedom to make anything we can dream of! We really get to work on super exciting projects. I think the worst part is the pressure to perform when our work comes from our souls. It's definitely blood, sweat and tears — while also having to have a business brain.

Has New Zealand affected your production methods in any way?
Having 'buy NZ made!' drummed into me all my life has definitely made an impact on me, and knowing our jewellers are treated fairly and paid well is really important to us.

What do you do to relax?
I never relax! Nah, I binge on Netflix sometimes and try to never work on the weekends.

Congrats on ten years of Meadowlark what were you like as a ten-year-old?
Thanks! I can't remember what I was like as a 10-year old, I did use to make terrible jewellery out of Fimo and sell at to the kids at school. And I'm pretty sure I accidentally had a mullet. 

Georgia in her Aukland studio. Lily wears Georgia Alice. Hair and makeup Katie Melody Rogers.

Georgia Currie of Georgia Alice

Growing up was there a friend, or a family member who encouraged your interest in fashion?
I think it was the influence of both my parents; they were quite a strict growing up and didn't work in fashion, but they were creative. Before I was a designer I was a dancer, and there was a similar sense of drama and romance there to fashion. If I wasn't a designer I think I would still be doing something else in a creative field.

Tell us some of the challenges you face working in this creative industry.
For me, it's the compromise you have to make that people can't necessarily see from the outside. Behind the scenes, there are so many compromises you make artistically during the design process. It's also important to remember that the clothes you design have to fit into real people's lives.

Do you think living in New Zealand and being so close to nature has shaped the way you feel about ethical manufacturing?
When I go overseas, to other more heavily populated cities, that's when I really notice the difference. Walking into an H&M or a Zara, you can feel overwhelmed by the amount of clothing available. I don't want to contribute to just making more clothes for the sake of it.

Who would you love to see wearing your pieces?
At the moment I really love Selena Gomez. I think her stylist is doing an amazing job; she always looks great. I'd love to see her in one of my dresses.

What do you do to relax?
It could be as simple as having a cup of tea. I live on the shore, so I try to go for a walk on the beach every day even if it's just for two minutes, plus I have a dog to walk. I also love going up north, to Whatuwhiwhi where my boyfriend has a place.

Maggie at her Aukland studio. Devon wears Maggie Marilyn. Hair and makeup Richard Symons.

Maggie Marilyn

Tell us some of the difficulties you face at the helm of a label.
Being able to try and make a living from something you love is so special, kind of a dream come true. To be honest, being creative is slightly tormenting sometimes: I don't think you are ever truly content with what you do. Sometimes it's so rewarding because you feel you've done something that you're really proud of, but a lot of the time you're just pushing towards where you want to be.

Do you think living in New Zealand has informed the way you think of clothing, or clothing manufacture?
For sure, especially growing up in a really rural town. We always lived on a farm and had farm animals, so I have this deep appreciation for the environment. I'm still a country girl at heart. I know I need to live in a city for the job that I do, but I love going home. That's really the root of why I care so much about the environment. 

Are price points a factor in your design process?
That was certainly something I thought about when I first started the label: I wanted it to be clothing that I could afford. If I'm designing something that I could never afford, it doesn't seem authentic. I want my friends and my sisters to be able to afford it, you know? I want someone like my mum to want to wear it. I would never want to say anything bad about luxury fashion, because it's beautiful, but the aesthetic of my brand is really easy and wearable and I don't think you get that feeling if you're paying an exorbitant price for something.

Is there an artwork you have always dreamed of owning?
My style changes with art, I really love something and then it changes. I really love Alyson Shotz's work, she's a sculpture artist, I would love to have a piece of her work!

Congrats on your LVMH award nomination! If you had to pick a life time's supply of Louis Vuitton handbags, Moët Champagne or Hennessey Cognac which would you choose?
Definitely the champagne, you can't have life without champagne!


Photography and interviews Rebecca Zephyr Thomas
Leah @ Unique, Lily @ The Others, Devon @ 62 Models

georgia alice