Designer Henry Calkin on fashion, Matariki and family

by admin
Designer Henry Calkin on fashion, Matariki and family

Henry Calkin is a fashion designer based in Wellington.


Henry Calkin is a fashion designer based in Wellington.

Henry Calkin grew up on the Kāpiti Coast at Raumati Beach but currently lives in Hataitai. He enrolled at Whitecliffe College of Arts and Design in 2019 to join the 2020 intake of fashion students. At that point he’d never sewn nor even knew what a pattern was. Last year he won the Resene Colour of Fashion competition.

Tell us about your winning design…

My assigned colour was Resene Grape Escape, a purple that imitates the night sky when lit up by stars. The design brief dictated that we draw inspiration from the world of our local cultures and coincidentally, the competition ran through Matariki. Growing up, we would make a big deal out of Matariki. My godfather Phill Simmonds was the director of the celebrations, creating several whānau-friendly events. I wanted to create a piece that celebrated Matariki and shone a light on the beautiful Māori myths we are treated to here in Aotearoa. This led me to design a laser-cut shawl. When draped it would open out to show patterns of stars, inspired by traditional feathered shoulder pieces and macramé ties attached to a halter bra as a nod towards traditional flax woven garments.

In what ways has your work changed since you first started designing?

In 2020 at Whitecliffe I started to appreciate the uphill battle I signed myself up for. I was far from a strong sewer and pattern making was largely a mystery to me. To now be creating aesthetically pleasing designs that receive praise from my peers is a massive change in my work from when I first started designing.

* Stay warm, and look cool: Nine sweater vests that are ideal for autumn layering
* How his parents’ home renovation inspired this young fashion designer
* Hemp expert Elise Barnes owns and covets functional local design

If you were prime minister for a day, what policies would you introduce to better support designers?

This year I was a recipient of the Prime Minister’s Scholarship to Asia and was privileged to study Islamic fashion in Bandung, Indonesia. If I were prime minister I would put more resources towards giving creatives a platform to thrive.

Calkin’s Matariki-inspired design won the 2022 Resene Colour of Fashion competition.


Calkin’s Matariki-inspired design won the 2022 Resene Colour of Fashion competition.

What is the best piece of career advice you’ve ever received?

Make a plan and stick to it. Pursue that road as far as it goes and you will find yourself somewhere worthwhile. If you stay in the middle of the road you will get run over. That one came from dad.

Which artists would you invite to a dinner party, if you could invite anybody at all?

I would invite my mother, Tania Dally, and my friends Dante Kennedy-George and Theo Arraj. As well as being a world-class artist, my Mum is an incredible cook, so I would try to convince her to make one of her classics.

How do you get yourself out of creative burnout?

To get inspired. Easier said than done.

Who is someone in your specific artistic field who most inspires you and why?

Wynn Hamlyn is a label I’ve been following that I find really inspiring. Wynn Hamlyn boasts so many beautiful designs and has an exciting and unique design style. The Auckland brand also lifts up New Zealand by making use of our own wool industry as well as manufacturing select pieces on home soil, whilst also participating in the global fashion scene by hosting fashion shows abroad.

A design by Calkin.


A design by Calkin.

What are you reading/watching/listening to at the moment and planning to attend in the future?

I’m currently reading Robert ‘Bob’ Calkin’s PHD, my grandfather’s memoirs called ‘Tales of the Lucky Generation’, which he and my father Richard Calkin have been working on for years now. It’s a fantastic story of an evolving New Zealand and Bob, whom I cherish very much. I’m watching the Fifa World Cup (it’s coming home!) and after that, the Premier League (c’mon you gunners!). I’m listening to Wellington rapper JINZ and his new singles.

What’s something not many people know about you?

I play in a hip-hop band called the Seaside Sloths.

Source Link

You may also like