Fashion designer

New Zealand fashion designer Wynn Hamlyn wows in his Australian Fashion Week debut

Auckland designer Wynn Crawshaw took Australian Fashion Week by storm with his semi-eponymous brand Wynn Hamlyn which launched its Resort ’23 collection on Tuesday night in Sydney – drawing inspiration from the opening of borders and the looks that you would see in a departure lounge.

The collection, which will be available to New Zealand fans from October to November, featured many of the signatures that Wynn Hamlyn has become known for, including bold colours, contemporary twists on knits and an appreciation for handcrafted details – alongside travel-friendly quilted jackets. and tropical prints.

It was the brand’s first time on the AFW calendar, and comes after New Zealand Fashion Week was canceled earlier this year. Wynn Hamlyn is the only New Zealand-based brand to host an official show as part of Australia’s biggest fashion event.

Australia has always been a lucrative market for New Zealand fashion brands looking to expand internationally, with designers like Kate Sylvester and Maggie Marilyn having attended AFW in recent years.

We spoke with Wynn Hamlyn Brand Manager (and wife of designer Crawshaw) Lana Morrison Crawshaw the morning after the show to find out more about the collection and what it meant to the brand.

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TB: Congratulations! How was the show?

LMC: It was a big effort, but we feel really excited. It was a huge step forward for us to show at Australian Fashion Week – it’s something that’s been in motion since last year in many ways.

It’s amazing to pull it off, especially with all the border challenges. It’s been pretty amazing to plan and organize it from New Zealand and then see it come to life right in front of us.

We have had excellent feedback. Lots of people were buzzing and saying “best show of the week!” I’ve only heard good comments, so I hope that stays true!

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“It’s amazing to be successful, especially with all the border challenges.”

How does this remote approach differ from the way you usually prepare for a show?

It was different in many ways, but it felt like a step forward for us.

We haven’t shown for a very long time. Obviously in the past we’ve shown NZ Fashion Week, which is similar but on a different scale.

Wynn told me before the show, “it’s so weird” because it’s all about making the clothes – and in an ideal world he’d be working on something in the studio until the wee hours of the morning. before if he could. This format does not allow it.

Tell me about the collection you showed?

This collection, Wynn named it Departure Lounge. It’s inspired by the world opening up again – but more so, the looks you see in a departure lounge.

It’s the feeling of anticipation as everyone prepares to travel again, and people wear their vacation gear as a sign or badge of where they’ve been – or where they’re going.

I like to think of the idea of ​​going to Hawaii and buying your shirt at the gift shop, or maybe you bought a down jacket on sale somewhere and can’t fit it in your suitcase. , then you wear your down jacket. Or you spent the weekend hiking, then you have your Salomons [hiking boots] on.

It’s about the juxtaposition of taking things from where you were and giving them new life. It’s kind of a game about where we are in the world right now and how we think about where we want to go.

Models wearing Wynn Hamlyn creations parade down the catwalk.

Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

Models wearing Wynn Hamlyn creations parade down the catwalk.

Tell me about the place – an old railway tunnel?

We showed in a train tunnel, under Haymarket central station in Sydney. I don’t even know who found it, but it really fits that theme of a transit lounge and going somewhere.

But we also wanted to present something at Australian Fashion Week that was a really different offering to what traditional Australian brands are presenting.

A model walks the runway at Wynn Hamlyn's <a class=fashion show, which is held in a train tunnel, under Sydney’s Haymarket Central Station.” style=”width:100%;display:inline-block”/>

Brendon Thorne/Getty Images

A model walks the runway at Wynn Hamlyn’s fashion show, which is held in a train tunnel, under Sydney’s Haymarket Central Station.

You are the only Kiwi brand and one of the only international ones to be presented at Australian Fashion Week this year. What motivated you to show across the gap?

For us, especially during the pandemic, Australia has become a second home for the brand. We’ve really developed a strong presence here with our amazing partners and resellers, and so it was a good time to cement something and talk to those consumers.

At the same time, the world is opening up, and we’re starting to do international screenings again, and that’s [one of] the first fashion weeks that the international press, media and buyers also traveled.

It was a real opportunity to meet them a little closer to home and to be able to show, on our terms, who we are.

There is also a strong Kiwi component in Sydney this week – was it nice to have local support around you?

Yes, Jessy [Wong] by Yu Mei is here, and jeweler Jasmin Sparrow, who I’m good friends with, showcases jewelry at the Beare Park show. Many Kiwi brands see Australia as a great opportunity.

We have such strong friendships with a lot of Australians here, but it’s always so nice to have people around you who really know you and the brand.

You already talked about this collection representing where you want to go. Where will you show next?

I would like to dream big and say it will be in New York, another big leap for us. But it will be in a short time I think!