Field Notes


29 April 2018

Posted in: Industry, H&F Presents, Environment

The last week of April kicks off Fashion Revolution Week, where we find out who is behind the production of our clothes. This is the one week yearly that encourages consumers to ask fashion brands, who made my clothes. The consumers then hope for the response from these brands to find out who was behind the making of their clothing.
Hawes & Freer are taking part in this global campaign for the second year in a row, to have an open and honest conversation with those in our fashion industry. Who are the people in the NZ fashion industry? What is their background, and do they value the importance of NZ made clothes as much as other Kiwis do? 
We have the answers. New Zealand meet the people behind your NZ made clothes. 
Frances - Nat Chan
Frances - Workroom Manager at Natalie Chan
How long has the Natalie Chan brand been around for and what do you specialise in?

Natalie Chan founded her label in 2001, where she opened her very first workroom above a florist’s boutique. Initially catering to the special occasion market with her clothing and millinery designs for many years, the Natalie Chan brand has since evolved to specialise in the most romantic industry of all -the bridal market!

What does your role consist of at Natalie Chan?

My role is the workroom manager. I work closely alongside Natalie to create new bridal collections. I organise the production schedule, ensure we have adequate fabric and trim stock levels and manage our small studio team. I pattern make, cut and sew pieces from our range as well as help on any bespoke orders we may have.  And lastly you will also find me assisting in bridal fittings.

Why is the ‘made in NZ’ important to Natalie Chan?

Creating our designs entirely in New Zealand means that we are utilising the specialised craftmanship skills and talents of our team and local industry. From our expert seamstresses to our studio assistants and interns we all work together and learn from one another to create the most beautiful and well-made garments we can.

As you are working with bridal, why do you think it is vital that there is transparency in your production process?

Many of our brides come to us because they appreciate the locally made aspect to our designs. It's so important to us that we can tell them with integrity the story of how their gown came together.

Do you think there is enough awareness of where clothes are made? Why or why not?

I feel that people are slowly starting to engage in the conversation more and more. Information is becoming more widespread through the likes of the annually released Tearfund’s Ethical Fashion Guide and the recent eye-opening documentary ‘The True Cost’. Though there is still a long way to go in raising awareness and there is definitely room for further educating.

Why do you think it is important that people know where their clothes are made?

I think it’s a social responsibility for everyone to be inquisitive about the environment and the working conditions in which their clothing is produced in. Ideally these conditions are healthy, and the makers are treated and paid ethically.

What does it mean to you to know that you are making high quality garments in NZ?

Personally, I am extremely proud to be a part of this wonderful team where we are creating gowns and ensembles to be worn by our clients at such a significant milestone in their life. Further to that, it’s a great feeling knowing that we are employing and creating job opportunities for our peers and contributing to our local economy.

Natalie has had a lifelong affair for creating beautiful, feminine designs. She founded her label in 2002 catering to the special occasion market with her clothing and millinery designs.

The Natalie Chan boutique houses current bridal, award winning millinery and special occasion collections. We also provide a specialised bespoke service for our clientele. Our atelier is situated above the boutique where our designs and production are carried out.

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