Life-Changing fashion reinvents runway show


Four New Zealand fashion labels have taken their runway aspirations into their own hands after New Zealand Fashion Week was cancelled due to Covid restrictions.

From left Ana Wilkinson-Gee from Holi Boli, Jodie Woods from Tonic & Cloth, Emily Long from Duffle&Co and ReCreate Clothing's Erica Gadsby.

From left Ana Wilkinson-Gee from Holi Boli, Jodie Woods from Tonic & Cloth, Emily Long from Duffle&Co and ReCreate Clothing’s Erica Gadsby.

Hamilton-based fashion label Holi Boli and Waikato-based ReCreate joined Tonic & Cloth and Duffle&Co in a reinvented runway event designed to highlight the impact these brands are creating in the lives of their makers, as well as showcase the best of their collections on the catwalk.

The Life-Changing Fashion show, provided a platform for the designers to share the values of sustainability and considered creation, with thoughtfully designed fashion that makes a positive impact in the lives of the people who make their products. Each collection fairly employs more than 80 garment makers.

ReCreate began as an idea to provide fair employment for women in the marginalised community of Dey Tmey, Cambodia. Founded by Erica Gadsby in 2013, ReCreate provides opportunities for training and personal development within their Dey Tmey workshop and through production partners in Cambodia.

“This event is a wonderful opportunity for us to collaborate and promote each other’s brands, as we are all essentially working towards the same vision — to transform lives through fashion,” Erica says.

“It’s not only about designing clothing that makes women look good… we also want them to feel good, knowing that their garment has made such a positive difference in somebody else’s life.”

Holi Boli, an ethical women’s clothing manufacturer and fashion label, was started by Ana and Daniel Wilkinson-Gee following a visit to India in 2006. Now employing 21 women and having trained a further 170 in design and sewing, Holi Boli is making a real difference in the lives of women by providing them with the skills and opportunities for a better life. More recently, they have added a New Zealand production component which continues to support these women throughout the pandemic.

Holi Boli Navy Floral Dress currently in production for Autumn.

Holi Boli Navy Floral Dress currently in production for Autumn.

“The show came together very quickly within about eight days. We were blown away by the positive response from those we reached out to, collaborate with us, to help our social enterprises keep moving forward during these difficult times,” Ana says.

“There was such a beautiful, calm, joyful spirit on set. The women from Silverfox model agency brought professionalism mixed with heart. Maher shoes kept our Holi Boli models walking in freedom. Ollie from Kauri Bay Boomrock events venue (Clevedon) gave us a safe place and warm welcome at their breath-taking, indoor-outdoor location on a hill overlooking the Hauraki Gulf. Citizens kept us all hydrated with their delicious non-waste drink products. We’re super grateful to all these amazing brands who made this event possible.”

Tonic & Cloth, founded by Jodie Woods, is a clothing brand with a heart for empowering women. Using natural fibres, each garment allows women to truly be themselves.

“I want women to feel beautiful and strong in our clothes, no matter what they face each day. And I want those that make our clothes to be empowered and honoured through the process,” Jodie says.

Emily Long’s brand Duffle&Co bridges the gap between everyday luxury and conscious, considered design with handcrafted bags that don’t compromise your values. Each piece is created through slow, fair and ethical production, and by implementing age-old artisanship techniques that empower small groups of talented artisans. Proudly certified as a B Corporation and Climate Positive, meticulous attention to detail goes into each Duffle&Co piece, from the hand signed labels from each maker to the trees that are planted from each purchase.

With the ethos of collaboration over competition, the Life-Changing Fashion event was supported by a selection of like-minded businesses who are also challenging the status quo within their
respective industries.

Silver Fox Management represents the models who sizzled down the runway with a diverse range of sizes, heights, ages and looks — creating a relatable and empowering experience for all women with the confidence and radiance that each model brought to the stage.

The Edit skincare, with founder Michelle Devereux, brought more than 25 years of fashion and beauty know-how to achieve a fresh, natural makeup for the runway. The Edit’s skin-perfecting curation of natural products was used to create the luxurious base for each look.

Citizen provided refreshment to event guests with sustainable beverages that fight food waste by upcycling food instead of letting it go to waste. Every Citizen product is made using edible surplus food or food by-products, which is then re-worked into delicious drinks.


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