Published on November 16th, 2012 | by Skye Pathare0
Dreaming Of Georgia
Georgia Currie has come a country mile since making the move from Christchurch to Auckland.
Named the 2011 winner of the Westpac Young Fashion Designer Competition and the Telstra Clear Design Excellence Award, Georgia is about to launch her debut line – 2013’s autumn/winter collection of her womenswear label, GEORGIA ALICE.
She describes this, the Imperial collection, as “simple, luxurious and ready-to-wear with very crisp silhouettes”. She describes the wearer as that beautiful, immaculately put-together girl at the party – you just know she was born in placenta by Phoebe Philo and remembers to floss every morning.
I understand that fashion is often a referent and serves a socio-cultural function that transcends merely covering up our junk. But too often, designer clothing is neither use nor ornament. Georgia’s creations are both – they look lovely, and you can imagine picnicking in them or coupling them with that pair of jeans/nana sweater/dress that has been sitting in your wardrobe forever.
It’s rare to find those timeless-yet-timely garments that fit seamlessly into your life. Notable pieces are the Pallas blazer (think functional adult who’s still down with the kids), the Hercules crop (for some strategic skin-baring) and the Prince Denim pants, with a studded kneepad that looks cool and protects your patella. How convenient.
Imperial materialised from Georgia’s affection for Greek mythology, minimalist architecture and the Arctic. This is evident in the collection’s neutral colour palette, interesting mix of cuts and choice of fabrics – lots of forever-lasting silk and leather. Every garment is a true investment piece. Georgia works with her customers in mind.
“You must respect the women you design for. Quality of construction and flexibility are both key, so the clothing is trans-seasonal and open to interpretation. I can’t wait to see the way people wear it.”
Georgia is unabashedly passionate about the New Zealand fashion industry and her ever-burgeoning role within it. Her emails feature plenty of exclamation marks, ALL CAPS and crossed kisses, and our mutual friends tell me she is a delight to know.
Her sunny disposition and pretty face complement a diploma in fashion design and technology from CPIT. Georgia says she valued the technical focus and networking opportunities offered by her formal education, but she stresses the importance of young designers gaining work experience.
“Launching a label is difficult and quite broad in scope, it’s nothing like I imagined. I’ve learnt more in the last six months than I ever did at school.”
The week I interview her, Georgia is sorting production for her winter line (which will be available in early March of next year at Black Box Boutique) and designing her 2013 spring/summer collection. She clearly has a tactical, business-minded approach to her work, yet admits the marriage of commerce and art can be tricky. “It’s a really tough balancing act. If things are stressful on the business side it’s almost impossible to think creatively.”
Luckily, her prize pack from the Westpac Young Fashion Designer Competition included professional mentorship from successful entrepreneur-turned-designer Angela Lewis. She has heaps of semi-professional help available too, in the form of advice and support given by the many friends she’s made.
“There is a real fashion community in Auckland, and people are very nurturing. Murray Bevan from Showroom 22 has been an absolute rock for me. There’s always somebody to turn to when things get crazy or scary.”
Georgia’s studio is located inside the Gloria Knight Gallery in Wynyard Quarter, which hosts a range of brilliant shows by young artists, both local and international.
“I like not being surrounded by just fashion. Art has taken a more important role in my life over the last four years as I’ve been dating an artist and attending lots of openings and exhibitions. I love music too – hip-hop and r’n’b dominate the majority of my playlists. Both [music and art] are so important for being a well-rounded designer.”
Everybody knows that all work and no play makes you dull and murderous. Georgia’s been too busy to explore most parts of our fine city, but admits to setting leisure time aside for eating delicious food. She excitedly tells me about her eclectic purchases at the Matakana Markets (a cauliflower, potato gratin, pastry and a mallowpuff) and her favourite menu items from Satya Indian Restaurant.
“I’ve also started going to pilates and yoga,” Georgia adds. “It’s the first exercise I’ve done in four years!”
Georgia thrives on being active and says she never wants to retire – even if every single one of her long-term goals comes to fruition. These include showing at New York Fashion Week, being reviewed on style.com and having stockists in over fifteen countries.
“But I think most importantly, I want girls and women to wear my clothing and want my clothing and to have a strong brand image – something I can be amazed at to have started and to continue.”
Article by Skye Pathare
Photogarphy by Ab Watson