Ballantynes Fashion Week: Clothing with a conscience

With fashion weeks taking place all over the world at the moment, Ballantynes got in on the action and hosted an exciting calendar of events for Christchurch fashion lovers. The weeklong festivities included a runway show, Q&As with New Zealand designers, shopping events and Huffer’s 20th birthday party.

I was lucky to be invited along to an intimate soirée hosted in the Contemporary Lounge with the designers behind Twenty Seven Names and Harman Grubiša. I’ve long been a fan of Twenty Seven Names, particularly for their well-made, timeless garments that eschew trends and stand the test of time. Madeleine Harman and Jessica Grubiša of Harman Grubiša are newer on the scene, but have quickly cemented their role as fashion powerhouses. Since their show at NZFW last year, they’ve been making waves in the international fashion communities, recently winning the prestigious Woolmark Award.

The evening started off with cocktails and canapés before delving into the interview with Rachel, Madeleine and Jessica. Along with viewing favourite pieces from their new collections, they spoke about their friendships (they both went into business with their best friend), finding inspiration and ethical fashion. I loved hearing their stories about finding creativity and beauty in everything and how hard they work. “If it were easy, everyone would do it,” Twenty Seven Names has recently celebrated ten years in business and Rachel discussed how difficult the first few years were as a new business. “It’s nice to now be at a point where we’ve checked off all the goals we set out for ourselves at the beginning,” she says. All three girls were down to earth and easy to talk to, which is always refreshing in the fashion industry. IMG_0248

New Zealand-made garments are often expensive, which can be deterring to those on a budget. However, affordability and cheap clothes come at a cost, not only to the environment but to labourers and employees. Both Harman Grubiša and Twenty Seven Names pieces are made with high quality materials and everyone they employ is paid a reasonable, living wage. Sustainability is integral to both companies and they both use recycled materials and wastage in their pieces. They also design clothes that last for years, which makes the investment worthwhile.

I’ve always loved how Ballantynes, especially the Contemporary Lounge stocks and supports New Zealand designers. Having to save a bit longer and buy fewer items is one way to consume a little more consciously while supporting local makers and creatives.







All photos by Nancy Zhou. 

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