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New Zealand Fashion Week: A Sit Down (Under) with Avant-Garde Label NYNE

We're taking a break(-ish) from London Fashion Week to bring you interviews and reviews on the coolest Kiwi designers at New Zealand Fashion Week. First on our list is NYNE, the Wang of Wellington -- and yes, we explain NZ slang in this interview.

Dear Alexander Wang, you might have some competition, and that competition is down under. Introducing NYNE (which, incidentally, is celebrating its ninth birthday next week), one of the edgiest labels at New Zealand Fashion Week.

A previous designer presented an Alice in Wonderland-themed runway complete with quirky costumed actors, centerpieces of macarons and balloons and lots of tunes by 16-year old electro-pop singer Lorde (who is a Kiwi, FYI). But, in contrast, NYNE followed with a spooky paradise made up of a fog machine, a Tarantino-esque black and white short film and a soundtrack provided by ThunderDykes -- a budding moody Nick Cave-ish NZ rockstar.

In short: eye-veiling floppy hats, layers of georgette/mesh/viscose crepe, lots of black, white and grey and a few color injections of fiery red. Whether you’re a dark flowing figure type, a sartorial-slaying hit woman on the run, or both, NYNE would be your total cup of tea -- with a side of vegemite toast and a flat white, please. Tilda Swinton, are you listening? The show was called "Nomadic," after all.

I chatted with Tina Patrick, Miranda Dawson and Jacob Scott-Simmonds, the trio behind NYNE backstage, and learned that while they might be clad in black, you shouldn't dare call them goth!

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So, what’s the deal with the name NYNE? I wish we had a cool story, but we don’t. There’s three of us that started the business in 2004, and sometimes for three people to make one decision, it’s a pretty lengthy process. We’re a lot, lot better these days! [The name] NYNE ended up being a play on letters. We kind of came up with something that didn’t mean anything, so there’s no attached connotations. We’re visual people and we like the look of the letters set together.

Who’s the typical NYNE shopper? It’s a huge range of people that buy our product. Probably the biggest demographic would be the thirty to sixty-five year old woman -- probably just down to extra income. It really varies in personalities as well. We have some quite crazy customers who like to layer their looks and work with the whole NYNE experience, and then we have customers who focus on our core range and love the basics. They'll buy the same shapes every season just in different prints. We’d like to think that the NYNE wardrobe is ever-evolving, you should be able to buy one piece one season and buy another piece five years later. They should mesh together. We definitely don’t follow a real strong trend calendar or anything like that.

Okay, so, are you goth? Nah, we’re not goth, or death metal, or anything like that. We quite often talk about contrast -- we always have a black element, but we also have a beautiful, ethereal element as well to compliment the darkness. The white looks amazing and it’s beautiful against the edgy, gritty black looks, and we have a pop of red as a color injection. A beautiful androgyny would be a really good way of explaining this collection. As designers, we prefer masculine shapes but we’re still really appreciative of that feminine silhouette as well. I’d say that the NYNE woman is quite a strong, self-assured person or character. Understated cool. Effortlessly cool dressing. You shouldn’t have to try hard with NYNE, it can be really simple, really complex, and really practical.

I can see everyone from Tilda to Rihanna rocking NYNE. Any famous face in particular that you’re keen on dressing? I’d love to dress Florence [Welch]. Something black and fluid that she can drift around on stage in with her big voice.

Photos: Foureyes