5mins with Sisters Label Designer Nancy Zhang

Monday 27 November 2017

Sisters & Co designer, Nancy Zhang, has always wanted to design. When she was a young girl, she would rather be drawing pictures then out playing. This led her to complete a degree in Creative Industries, majoring in fashion. Her talent stood out and she was a top student and winner in her collection for the prestigious  South Island fashion awards.

Working at Sisters & Co part-time during her course, Nancy was a star on the floor and director, Rodelle Payne, quickly snapped her up after Nancy finished her studies.

This led to Nancy designing Sisters & Co’s own collection after the stores label had a few years of hiatus. Nancy said: “It’s so exciting to be doing what I love and I am pasisonate about pattern making, creating, and sewing. It’s exciting starting the process from a drawing and seeing it through till the finished product. I am also looking forward to being able to sell it on the floor. But there have definitely also being a lot of challenges, like compromising on my design for cost, changes to construction due to manufacturing constraints, and also designing for a particular market and customer in mind. It is also quite a lengthy process but I have had a great team to help me, Rose helping with logistics and Andrene with her great eye for colour and fabrics. Rodelle has also been amazing and super supportive and I am so greatful that she has given me the opportunity. I can’t wait to see the first collection on the floor!”

What inspired the creation of Sisters Label? Our Sisters Label is primarily inspired by our customers. We continuously listen to their feedback and in conjunction with our design team, endeavor to create garments to fulfill their needs.


What is your design process? What are the advantages of getting everything made locally? I think it’s great being able to collaborate with stores and factories based in New Zealand. Each capsule starts from planning, researching, drawing and then to choosing fabrics, pattern making, toiling, and getting our fabric cut and finally made locally in New Zealand.


After graduating from Toi Ohomai, what is the greatest thing you have learnt in your first year of working in the industry? The greatest thing I have learnt in the fashion industry is the process of how retail and online retail works. There are a lot more details to it than what we can see.


How would you describe your own personal style? My personal style changes regularly according to my lifestyle. Sometimes I feel like I have a few personalities living in me in the way I dress. You’ll find me shifting around in my Bassike gears with a pair of sneakers, or in my glam mood mostly on Saturday wearing either a Karen Walker dress or Shona Joy playsuit with my hair sleek back in a ponytail and my current favourite lip liner from Kjaer Weis.


What are some of the key trends coming through this season? The classic slip dress is a must have key piece this season. We’ve selected a vintage print in a whiskey and a classic black for this style. It is a style you can play with for many different occasions. Also the elasticated culottes are big this summer, some people may find it too frumpy for their figure but the elastic waistband gives you a definition of a curve on your waist line, make sure to pair it with something either slim or fitted on top for a dreamy look. Don’t be afraid to try something new!


Whats the last fashion purchase you made? I actually just purchased a pair of Adidas Originals EQT Racing Adv Shoes online.


What does a day of work at Sisters & Co look like for you? My usual work day would be arriving in the office around 8:30am, check my emails, grab my coffee from Coco’s, head to the design room and start my day off either pattern making or sampling away on my sewing machine.


What does the future for the Sisters Label look like? How often will we see new designs? Hopefully Sisters label will deliver new capsules 5-6 times throughout the year. We want the Sisters label to be affordable as well as fulfilling our customer’s needs.


If you could trade closets with one person it would be: Anna Dello Russo.


What’s your favourite Mount Maunganui activity? I am super easy, if it’s a sunny day, I am happy whatever I do as long as I am out soaking up that sunshine!

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