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Cottoning on to sustainable fashion

Being fashion conscious is increasingly weighted towards the conscious part of the term. From ecological impacts on the environment to social justice issues in supply chains and modelling campaigns: designers and consumers alike have sustainability in mind.


Smaller collections, less often: Prada’s “refreshingly practical” (as one writer put it) Spring 2021 runway show last month was a pared back collection of well-made, working from home-friendly staples. Such collections may well become the new norm as the industry takes a Covid-enforced rethink of the necessity and eco footprint of large, frequently-released collections.


Cottonised hemp: Made from a hemp yarn that’s been processed to have the look and feel of cotton, cottonised hemp requires less water, chemicals and land to grow than cotton – making it a more sustainable choice. Jean geniuses Levi’s have just released its latest range made of this fabric into New Zealand.


Is pre-order the new order? Instead of releasing fully produced collections, some designers (like Kiwi labels Harris Tapper and Ellis) are opting for pre-order. The antithesis to oft-problematic fast fashion, pre-order might mean a longer wait for shoppers – but could spell the end of left-over, unwanted stock going to landfill.

Tactical textiles: Oranges, pineapples, potatoes, banana and coffee; excellent for eating, drinking and also, apparently, for wearing. New fabrics made from food waste are emerging the world over, with cult New Zealand handbag brand Deadly Ponies recently joining the fray with a trio of vegan handbags constructed from organic cactus leather.


Rinse & repeat

Like anything in life, a strong wardrobe is built from good foundations; the basics of strong, affordable pieces that we wear on rotation and whose look we can adjust easily with trending accessories. We check out the mainstays of the fashion game.



White tee: This is a classic – an item that you can truly wear with almost anything. Dress it up or dress it down, whichever you choose will look great. There’s also no worry of colour clashes because it pairs with everything well!

Denim jacket: Combine this with the above two suggestions and you’ve got a failsafe outfit. This type of jacket works well over a short or long sleeve shirt, a dress or even a sweater (the jacket might have to be oversized if you’re doing the latter).

Little black dress: If your ‘little black dress’ is referring to the one you haven’t worn since high school, it’s time to grab your purse. There should only be a few garments in your wardrobe waiting for a rainy day and this isn’t one of them. Like the denim jacket, it can be worn for any occasion, accompanied by the correct accessories of course.

Black jeans: A good pair of these can outlast the years. Wear them to work, brunch, clubbing or around the house – they’re perfect for any occasion. Just throw on a belt to add some serious style.

Black boots: We know we go on all the time about loafers and how amazing they are. But if they’re the belle of the ball when it comes to dressy shoes, then black boots take the cake as the foundational staple of shoes.

The easy jeans: Jeans won’t ever go out of style, so having more than one pair will never be a bad idea, especially when they are a slouchy, high-waist, straight leg fit. Finish them off with a pair of killer heels or some dad sneakers and you’ve got two completely different looks!


Karen Walker’s love affair with denim

They’ve been torn, patched and intentionally abused by stone and acid washes, and despite a troubled upbringing as the unofficial uniform of 1950s youth counter-culture, denim has maintained its standing as a seasonal staple, reinvented and reinvigorated season after sartorial season. We caught up with our fashion favourite Karen Walker about her love affair with this popular fabric.



When did you fall in love with denim?

I’m a child of the ‘70s and that’s a decade that was awash in the stuff. One doesn’t recover from that romance.

What do you love about this overwhelmingly popular fabric?

It’s a living fabric that improves with age and pays you back every time you give it an outing.

Do you have a favourite pair?

I always have three or four pairs of jeans in my wardrobe but my favourite cut will always be the Levi’s 501.

I’ve been wearing them since I was in my teens and adore them There’s a reason they’re the legend they are.

What do you think makes the perfect pair of jeans?

It’s all about the fit.

How do you love wearing denim?

I guess the thing that keeps denim so central to all our wardrobes is that you can really do anything you like with it and it works; that’s why I reach for denim so often – because you can throw anything into the rest of the look and it works.

Jeans have long been a wardrobe staple and they’re reimagined year after year. Why do you think they’re such a popular addition?

For all the above reasons. They get better with age and they work with everything you can throw at them.

How do you like to incorporate denim into your designs?

Our approach to denim is usually to take it on a fashion journey in terms of really questioning the status quo around what denim’s silhouette and detailing can be.

Michelle Obama pairing your Temptation Blazer and Original Sin Flares on her Becoming book tour was a favourite of ours – and the world’s! They were a darker shade of denim. What are your favourite denim colours right now?

Nine times out of 10 it’s unwashed dark indigo.

Pulling back on the wash cycle has been thrown around a lot recently, particularly as it relates to denim. What are your top tips for looking after denim?

I’m not a huge fan of the freezer over the washing machine thing but neither do I think you have to wash your jeans after every wear and of course, when you do wash them, have them inside out on cold, line dry and all that.

I get the freezer treatment but if you’ve bought a pair of jeans which has been pre-washed, lasered or ripped to within an inch of its life, throwing them in the washing machine on cold every now and then is the least of your worries.

My preference is to start with denim that’s unwashed or had minimal washing and no rips so they last for decades and you earn the wear the hard way.


Denim delights

Denim may be the mainstay of the fashionable field, but the latest new season designs offer some classic styles – with a twist that make them feel brand new.


Levi’s new fit, the Balloon Jean


Polished pleats
Pleated jeans – say what? Well, this defining detail is taking a variety of standard styles to the next level in 2020. Set to replace the high-waisted mom jeans that have dominated the denim world for the last few years, these waist-cinching pants are climbing the ranks, championed by big brands and celebs alike. Channel your inner 80’s fashionista by teaming this trend with an oversized blazer and chunky boots.

All about the overalls
Calling all 90’s fashion fans – denim dungarees are back (did they ever really leave?) and 2020’s take on the trend sees these casual silhouettes get an oversized makeover, making them perfect for lounging around at home. Layer over tees, turtlenecks or tank tops – whatever the weather, dungarees have you covered.

Wide-leg moment
Move aside skinny jeans, it’s time for the wide-leg style to return to the spotlight. From the subtle boot-cut to the full-on flare, high-rise wide-leg jeans in all kinds of shades are getting the tick of approval from celebs like Margot Robbie, Selena Gomez and Bella Hadid. Pair them with chic heels, sneakers or your trusty pair of ankle boots.


Fashion and cuisine combine

Fashion and cuisine combine

A creative trio is bringing both cuisine and fashion back to the city’s heart, with Christchurch’s only central city wine bar and the country’s only denim brand combining to create a must-see central city hotspot.

Fashion and cuisine combine


The funky yet friendly establishment, which is in the heart of Little High Lanes and opened at the end of July, is the brainchild of business partners Phillip Sunderland, Helen Pfahlert and Stuart Montgomery. All the wine, craft beer, food and fashion on offer at Not Without You is produced in New Zealand – much of it from Christchurch and Canterbury. Housed under the same roof as the wine bar is their fashion store DUAL, New Zealand’s only denim brand – manufactured only 800 metres away on Lichfield Street.

The team, who come from creative, design and fashion backgrounds have all previously worked together, have a passion for supporting all things New Zealand and are “here for the long-haul”.
“We love the unique nature of the story,” Phillip says. “We are staunchly patriotic to all things Aotearoa. It’s a true joy to support the artisans, winemakers, beer brewers, cheesemongers, bakers, knife makers, designers and manufacturers from New Zealand. We are not the experts; but we source from them.”

The coffee cups, plates and bowls are handcrafted by Tatyanna at the Busy Finch on St Asaph St; coffee beans are roasted by Unknown Chapter, just across the road; the feature lights are crafted by Ivy and Willow Baskets from Plimmerton; craft beers are from small suppliers all over New Zealand; the cheese is from the Canterbury Cheesemongers; cured meats, pâtés and smoked seafood from Sydenham’s Euro Gourmet Meats, Cashmere Cuisine and Eaton Drink Co and the wine from Central Otago to Kumeu.
The wine is even chilled in fridges manufactured 4km away in Christchurch. “We love this city,” Helen says.

“We have everything at our doorstep; mountains, oceans, great people. But the city has to be vibrant, creative, dynamic. It has been through a rough time, but is now reviving and we see some fantastic opportunities to support what is going on in our region and to draw people back to the city centre with a compelling story.”



Death by Denim

Merivale’s Denim Heaven: Death by Denim

Denizens of Merivale will be excited to hear that Death by Denim is opening its second Christchurch store in the Quinns building on Papanui Road.


Death by Denim


Owners Kirsty and Scott Malcolm, along with new store manager Mandy Rowe, are thrilled to open the lifestyle boutique in mid-October.
Kirsty says their philosophy of old school customer service will carry through to this new venture, where the pleasure of using the five senses in your shopping experience is paramount (yes, every taste is catered for, as Kirsty and Scott love to offer a glass of champagne to clients at weekends).


Death by Denim

Kirsty has been working with denim since she was 17 and the specialty service of fitting jeans to any body shape is her art and passion. Recognising that our bodies change shape at different life stages, Kirsty loves to help clients find the fit and style that makes them feel great. She says, “Come for the denim – stay for the tees, shirts, dresses, ponchos, vests, skirts, shoes, accessories…” You get the idea. Kirsty says they stock items at a range of price points and the selection of labels is vast. Loved Californian brand Johnny Was is exclusive to Death by Denim in Christchurch, while the range of ‘John Lennon’ shirts would make a stylish statement under a race day suit.



Death by Denim offers not only stunning lifestyle clothing and accessories, but also shopping as genuine retail therapy. Enjoy Death By Denim Merivale opening mid-October, or visit the current store – BNZ Centre, Cashel Street and find them at


Denim Dreaming

Denim Dreaming: Denim is reinvented and reinvigorated

Every decade flaunts a scandalous aesthetic which rides against the tide of convention. In the 1950s, it was denim that was making sartorial waves.

Denim Dreaming


Having found its fashionable feet in 1871 when the iconic ‘jean’ pant was invented by Jacob Davis and Levi Strauss, denim has had a somewhat troubled upbringing since the 1950s when jeans emerged as the unofficial uniform of youth counter-culture.

Popularised by Marlon Brando and James Dean, jeans were torn, patched and intentionally abused by stone and acid washes, demonstrating the anti-authoritarian reputation of jeans and their wearers.
While at the time these rebellious revolutionaries stirred controversy with their sartorial courage, their visions have not only endured but been contemporised, and today denim is reinvented and reinvigorated season after sartorial season.


Denim Dreaming
Denim Dreaming


Its modern manifestation continues to court favour with the who’s who of fashionable circles, where it has since emerged as a timeless addition to your sartorial portfolio.
We put our fashionable noses to the ground to find out how this seasonal staple is being reimagined in upcoming collections and how you can up your denim game.


Denim Dreaming
Denim Dreaming


Mum jeans:

We probably don’t have to tell you that high-rise, non-stretch, vintage-inspired mum jeans are everywhere right now, and they’re a good investment because, with their timeless, flattering aesthetic and ability to suit everyone, they’ll likely never fall completely out of favour.


Gorgeously Groovy:

Yes, relaxed, full-length jeans in straight and even gently flared silhouettes are making their way back into our lives. A little groovy and a little 90s, they are practically made for a small heel and, with a little bit of a roll-up, you can go from dressy to casual with one pair.


A walk on the dark side:

Forget about acid wash or so-light-it’s-almost-white denim. Denim is taking a walk on the wild side this sartorial season, with dark wash denim trending in a very big way – dresses, skirts and shorts included!

Linen House Drift Denim

Dreamy denim decor: get inspo for your home from this fashion classic

The sartorial centrepiece of so many memorable outfits, from James Dean’s rebellious revolution to Britney and Justin’s infamous denim double-up, there’s nothing more iconic than denim.

Linen House Drift Denim
Kas Australia Denim
Holiday Aurora Denim Stool
Adairs Malmo Cushion Denim
Tallet Denim Throw

Decade after decade this style staple maintains its place on the ‘latest looks’ lists. Beloved for its timeless appeal and ‘dress up dress down’ versatility, it’s always on trend.
But this shape-shifting chameleon has sidled its way into the home and according to the powers that be, adding a dash of denim is a sure-fire way to bring enduring style to any space.
Much like its performance as a fashionable powerhouse, when it comes to homewares, denim offers a not-quite-neutral alternative to all of those whites and greys, can play to a variety of aesthetics, and provides a sought-after splash of textural interest.
With options in dark-wash, chambray, faded and even the well-worn look available, there is something to suit every style.
So shop our inspirational look, or raid the wardrobe or thrift store to craft some clever creations all of your own.