Bright New Generation

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Talented young designer Katie Coleman is making her New Zealand Fashion Week debut this year, with her charming label Katie-maree Cole.  She is showing as part of the New Generation show with a handful of other young designers, I spoke to her about her new collection, her label and what being involved in NZFW is really like for a first timer.

How did you initially get into the fashion industry?  I have always been fascinated with clothing and costume, I started dancing when I was three and I was surrounded by colour and beautiful fabrics.  My mother also loved fashion and taught me always to focus on good quality over quantity, she was always encouraging me to dress differently from my friends and to dress with confidence.  After doing textiles throughout school, completing my Bachelor of Design was a natural next step.

Starting your own label is always a brave but exciting move for a designer, what made you decide the time was right to start your own last year?  After completing my degree I was a bit worn out and decided to work in an office as a P.A, I soon realised that I was a creative through and through and I needed an outlet, so I started working on my label one day a week and it has naturally grown from there.

Where do you get your inspiration from for your collections?  Mostly old movies, I fantasize about being a lady in another time and in far off places and unfamiliar cultures.  I have a Katie-maree Cole dream world inside my head that spends hours wondering what life is like for other women.  I pick a muse for the season and work from there.


How did you get involved in this year's NZFW and what has it been like so far?  Well I really really really wanted to participate this year so I have been working towards it for the last year really.  I have two great sponsors - Woods Caravans and Motor campers Ltd and New Zealand Gold Merchants who have made my dream a reality and allowed me to apply and thankfully get accepted into the New Generation Show.

The process of putting on a fashion week show is an intense one, how do you cope with the pressure and what have you learned in the past few months?  I cope by sleeping in ....... that is my relax time really, then it's working till midnight and beyond getting what needs to be done done - I am a lot more focused at night.  I have learned the process of trial and error, editing and saying goodbye to pieces that may be great but are not adding to the collection.  It's hard to be so ruthless, but hopefully the collection will be stronger for it.

How do you go about making the creative and practical decisions for your show? Is it a mostly a one woman effort or do you have friends or advisors you consult?  I have friends that have fashion backgrounds which is great, they are always there to run things by and assure me that I am on the right track... or not .... depending.


Since you're showing in the New Generation show with a handful of other designers, how does the decision making process work, as you have to share models, hair and make-up teams, backstage space etc?  It's really all about compromise - it has been quite hard as everyone wants their own thing and you can be trying to merge completely different looks but it's just a matter of talking it out till we all can all agree.  It's great to have experts to help us that can see the bigger picture of what will work and what won't.

Given we're just a couple of weeks out from the event now, how are you feeling about your NZFW debut and what are you most looking forward to about it?  Scared - I just want to make a good impression really - I love my clothes but I am always wondering if people will get where I am coming from and who I am as a designer.

What can we expect from your debut show and where have you drawn your inspiration for it?  My inspiration is 'Little house on the prairie' it is sweet, simple and elegant and full of really wearable quality pieces.

What other shows are you looking forward to at NZFW?  The whole week is going to be awesome, the new Viaduct Events Centre is such a great venue, I think it will really lift the buzz of the whole week to a new level and hopefully I will be able to see a few shows between selling appointments and prep for my show!


I could not be more excited about Katie's show and can't wait to see her new collection on the runway.  These lovely images are from Katie's beautiful new collection 'she sells, seashells' which has just been released in Auckland at MADE and will be available online shortly after NZFW.

Best of luck for NZFW Katie!

Images from: Katie-maree Cole

Just So Pretty x

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