photographing new zealand's black brigade

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

by Russell Kleyn and i-D Staff
|
27 August 2015, 10:15pm

Dunedin 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 of New Zealand's 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 sweater, Kowtow backpack, Company of Strangers jewelry, 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 modeled 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 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 color-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.

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 favorite 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, Death and The Maiden, and Womb.

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.

Vintage turtleneck, grey sweater 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 Friday night and marched with a friend for her graduation on Saturday.

What's your favorite thing to do in Dunedin? Exploring, ghost hunting -- many buildings around town and my neighborhood 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 jewelry.

Krue Love, 19

Where are you from? Gore, Southland.

What do you do? Retail Assistant at PLUME and I do a bit of modeling 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 favorite 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 glass house and expensive clothes.

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 modeling.

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.

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 Eckhaus 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.

Credits


Text and Photography Russell Kleyn

Tagged:
street style
NEW ZEALAND
Dunedin
plume
fashion interviews
nom*d
company of strangers
fresh and fruity