Seven Must-Follow Women on the Front Lines of New Zealand Fashion Week

Before the weeks-long tour de fashion cities — New York, London, Paris, Milan — that make up “Fashion Month” kicks off in September comes the lesser-known New Zealand Fashion Week. Initially an industry-facing trade show, NZFW has evolved in recent years to a vibrant hotbed of local as well as international talent showcasing their collections to thousands of fashion-focused delegates and style-savvy attendees. (Including us this week! Follow along on Instagram for all the fun.)

In celebration of this season’s NZFW, we want to introduce you to seven badass kiwis running the scene. From a baker to an illustrator, these ladies are killing it creatively while exposing just how good New Zealand style is. Get ready for your girl crushes to begin.  



Caitlin Mitchell was born into the NZ fashion scene, literally: Her parents began one of New Zealand’s first fashion magazines, NZ Apparel, back in 1969. Caitlin’s teen years led to her modeling, eventually inspiring her to try her hand at the other side of the camera as a photographer. A graduate of Whitcliffe College of Arts and Design with degrees in fine arts and business, Caitlin now runs the magazine her parents founded with her siblings while continuing to shoot fashion editorials, musicians, scenery and more. Steeped in fashion from birth, Caitlin has naturally developed her own signature style, incorporating pom pom statement heels, chunky oversized cardigans and the cutest berets, making her an NZ must-follow (especially during fashion week!).

Follow @caitlanmitchell



In her own words, Mary Maguet is an “int’l model by day, and a goofball by night.” Born in Kenya, Mary came to New Zealand when she was two years old. She was scouted as a model on a Sunday morning at her church and has quickly become one of the most sought-after local models. She is a NZFW runway vet and has modelled for many notable names such as Karen Walker and Lonely Lingerie. To top it off, she is a total sweetheart and has amazing style. Follow Mary strutting her stuff in not just New Zealand but New York, Milan, Hawaii, you name it.

Follow @pinkishlymojotastic



We predict this style queen-ceramicist is going to blow up in no time. Based in Auckland, Franca works on her exploratory project of beautiful ceramic objects. From geometric vases to a unique cheese platter and mug duo, her pieces are the perfect home additions. Just like us, she is a huge fan of emerging designers. Just head over to her Instagram feed where you will spot Paloma Wool pants, a Kowtow striped jumpsuit, Suzanne Rae’s to-die-for white pumps, and so much more. We highly suggest you take a peek and steal some style inspiration.

Follow @franca_christina



Meet New Zealand’s coolest twin sisters, Harriet and Carter Were. Both women are creatively-charged, expressed in distinctly different mediums. Harriet is a dual photographer and a knitter; She shoots editorials, photo series, interiors, and a does a portrait project called ‘Lonely Girls’ for Lonely Lingerie as well as knitting texturally-complex clothes and accessories. Carter is a baker known locally for her organic sprouted bread —a recipe that took her two years to perfect! — and seeded sourdough, which she sells through her company Were Bros. Each gal flaunts a compelling Instagram feed: Harriet’s full of lush photography and images of her knit work, and Carter’s an artistic homage to beautiful food. Consider them NZ’s Mary-Kate and Ashley.

Follow @harrywere + @werebros



Kelly Thompson came into illustration by way of fashion photography, inspired by the models she shot. With a feminine and delicate style, Kelly’s illustrations quickly gained an online following and she now works as full-time freelance artist, speaks at creative events, is the founding director of creative consultancy and illustration agency Maker’s Mgmt, and is constantly collaborating with fashion, beauty and lifestyle brands. With 23K IG followers and counting, her posts are the perfect mix of OOTD shots, illustrations, and creative inspiration.

Follow @kellythompsoncreative



We may be slightly obsessed with Georgia Pratt’s dreamy style and scruffy dog, Vito Valentino. Trained in fashion design, Georgia was scouted from the shores of New Zealand back in 2012 and has since emerged as a sought-after model. The Auckland-born beauty has walked the runway for Christian Siriano and Tome, starred in Lane Bryant’s Plus Is Equal campaign, and was named alongside Candice Huffine and Katy Smye as the “Models Out to Change Plus-Size Fashion” by Vogue. It’s safe to say, Georgia won’t be slowing down anytime soon. Head over to her feed for refreshing snaps of beauty, fashion and everyday life.

Follow @jojacalled

Women We Love: Fashion Illustrator Katy Smail

We recently fell in love with Scottish illustrator Katy Smail’s work and immediately had to know everything about her. We caught up with the Brooklyn-based artist to get a peek into her world.

HOW DID YOU FIND YOUR STYLE AS AN ILLUSTRATOR? I think that I have always had a pretty strong sense of my aesthetic. I think that my style has evolved quite naturally by listening to my intuition, not trying to draw like anyone else and just lots of practice and experimenting!

One to Watch: Fashion illustrator Abei Liu

There’s a reason why we can spend hours scrolling and getting lost down the rabbit hole of Instagram. We find people like Abei Liu. During the day he’s a partner at Elebbit, a design firm in Taipei, and in his spare time he shares his amazing fashion illustrations on Instagram. Drawing inspiration from photos of such subjects as Yohji Yamamoto and Bill Cunningham, we love how his illustrations are so alive and expressive. Abei booked his first collaboration with Liberty Fairs, the leading contemporary menswear tradeshow, and he’s just getting started. We had to find out more so we asked and he answered.

HOW DID YOU BECOME AN ILLUSTRATOR? As a designer who provides design services as a job, I always need some purely creative activities to relax. So about three months ago, I started creating these illustrations. Of course I still want people to see my works, so I began to share them via social media. I am very lucky that so many people have encouraged me during this time, and also so lucky to get the chance to work with Liberty Fairs from New York on an illustration project. I really feel very grateful.

YOU CAPTURE EXPRESSIONS SO WELL IN YOUR ILLUSTRATIONS. HOW DO YOU FIND YOUR SUBJECTS? WHAT’S YOUR PROCESS? I majored in fashion design when I was in university. This not only makes me passionate for the fashion industry, but I also appreciate and respect those who have been able to keep the stylish attitude.

I chose to draw two themes in the beginning. One is “Dream Item”, drawing some fashion items which I think are great. Another theme is “My Beard Dream”, This theme was created to satisfy myself, because I am a guy without beard… Then I wanted to draw a complete style and a complete moment. So I started to choose some stylish menswear icons to draw. I always love to choose warm and interesting images, then interpret them in my way.
In an illustration of Nick Wooster, there’s no apples in the original photo but I added apples to his bicycle’s basket to make it look friendly and warm.

WHAT PROJECTS ARE YOU WORKING ON NOW? I’m have some illustration collaboration projects, customers including a grooming brand from New York and a menswear brand from Taiwan. There are also some personal portrait work requests. They let me into their personal lives because they love the way I draw, this make me feel very happy. Unrelated to work, I want to start drawing some interesting stores from all around the world as my next theme series, perhaps clothing stores, some lifestyle shops or maybe a restaurant.

Meet the Designer: Ilana Kohn

Ilana Kohn has been gaining a cult following ever since her debut in 2012. The Brooklyn-based designer wasn’t always in fashion. She began her career as a successful illustrator for The New Yorker, the New York Times and Kiehl’s (among many others) for close to a decade. No big deal. But a life long love of fashion was always on her mind. Now her sketch pad makes way for full collections of relaxed silhouettes, fabric with the perfect drape and bold yet totally wearable prints and hues. We can’t get enough. Ilana chatted with us in the aftermath of fashion week and gave us a few hints about next season.

Shop Ilana Kohn >




Illustrator Fumi Koike on Japan and seasonal inspiration

Anything that Japan-based artist Fumi Koike starts to draw turns into something amazing. We had the chance to do a quick interview with her where she spoke about her making her illustrations feel cozy. Take a look at her portfolio [here] and you’ll know exactly what she means.


My favorite season in Japan is winter. The air becomes clear and the natural light looks beautiful. When the leaves of the street trees fall, I can look up at the night sky more widely. I love to look at the night sky when I’m on my way home. There are a lot of stars and they shine really bright. In the morning, when everyone still sleeping, the world seems very quiet and my breath is white and disappears quickly; it’s fun. I keep my home warm and comfortable. I’ll have delicious pot of coffee or hot cocoa. My bed always there to keep me warm. After the long winter, spring comes in with so many beautiful and vibrant colors.


In Japan, all seasons are characteristic. So I love seeing and feeling all them change. When I work, I keep this in mind. I put an invisible atmosphere of the signs of life, feeling and temperature into my work. I aim to draw pictures that make the audience feel a sense of coziness, something that touches their hearts. I want to keep my eye on the daily life and be obedient when I do so.


My favorite things to illustrate are food, rooms and something homespun. I like to make them have a sign of life and look cozy because it’s simply enjoyable.