The joys of life in Toronto – Tim Hortons coffee practically on tap, the chance to spot Drake at every turn, and skating rinks with hot chocolate pretty much all year. But, when icicles start forming on your eyelashes – you know it’s time to escape to warmer ground. So I picked one of the furthest points in the Southern Hemisphere, and booked my flight. I had heard that backpacking was a good way to explore, so I bought myself a backpack, a Kate Spade leather one similar to the one on sale here, and was on my way.
As I arrived in New Zealand, after I realized that maybe there was more to backpacking than just carrying a nice backpack (how was I to know?!), I took a moment to take in the sights around me. I was surrounded by lush green landscapes, magnificent geysers and the tallest of forests. The fashionista in me was awestruck by the juxtaposition of the old and new fashion that was present throughout the country. I began with a visit to the city of Rotorua, which houses traditional Maori jewelry and couture at the Rotorua Museum. For someone who thought the origin of flax was Whole Foods, I was amazed to discover that Maori weaving uses traditional flax (or “harakeke”) to create couture that is represented on the runways of today. My favourite piece was Donna Campbell’s Maori version of the little black dress (shown below).
As I roamed the streets of Rotorua, the store Ahu, a little boutique clothing store by designer Adrienne Whitewood caught my eye. A few minutes in the store was enough to see why this Rotorua designer is a New Zealand fashion week favourite. The couture incorporated Maori culture by using vibrant patterns and cultural symbols into modern designs.
As I realized that New Zealand couture absolutely had to make its way into my Canadian closet, I spent the rest of the day shopping. Here are some of my favourite NZ designers to spice up your closet in 2019:
A New Zealand brand, born and bred…it brings a pop of fun to comfort couture and everyday wear. Since the climate in New Zealand, similar to that in the 6ix can go from warm to cold to wet to dry all within an hour, the brands’ claim to be wearable in an ever-changing weather climate is the Canadian dream.
A boutique New Zealand company which labels itself as “everyday luxury,” I loved the chic yet edgy feel that accompanied each garment.
One of my favourite pieces was the Darling modest tee (shown below).
Couple that tee with Balenciaga kicks like the ones shown
For those who dare to be different and want an outfit that makes THE statement, this label is where it’s at. Using reworked vintage garments, NOM*d uses traditional tailoring to create a cool yet dark trendy image.
So for all of you who are looking for a winter escape (which will also give you an excuse to expand the wardrobe) pack your “backpack” for New Zealand. For the rest of you…as we defrost our frozen eyelashes, we can give thanks to online shopping. Until next time…
Designer Swap is Canada’s online luxury consignment shop and Toronto-based fashion blog. Find gently-used and pre-loved authentic designer pieces to purchase and read about the newest fashion, beauty, and lifestyle trends. Make sure to check us out on Instagram and Facebook!
Images courtesy of Anisa Shivji,