RACHEL EASTING AND ANJALI STEWART
On a guided tour of the inner city with Rachel Easting and Anjali Stewart, founders and designers of fashion label Twenty-seven Names, I get to experience Wellington’s community spirit first-hand. “It’s a very small scene. So everyone is good mates,” explains Rachel. From their Ghuznee Street studio, they take me to Customs Brew Bar – home of celebrated Wellington coffee company, Coffee Supreme. Twenty-four hours into my trip and I’m feeling a little over-caffeinated, so Anj suggests I try one of Customs’ half-size ‘little red cups’, and her local knowledge comes up trumps. My coffee is dainty, but not dilute.
From there we head to Six Barrel Soda. “They’re another Wellington success story,” says Anj, explaining that Six Barrel’s products (including a coffee syrup made in conjunction
with Coffee Supreme) are stocked in cafés and eateries all over New Zealand. When we arrive, owner Joe Slater immediately stops what he’s doing at the soda machine to show the girls the new labels he’s been working on. They give their seal of approval in ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’.
Back out on the street, Anj explains that relationships between Wellington business owners are bolstered by the fact that there are far fewer industry events to attend than there are in Auckland. “You don’t see each other every week,” she says. “So when you do catch up you’ve actually got something to talk about.”
With their schedules not overloaded with launches and lunches, Rachel and Anj have time to focus on the brand and the people and places that inspire them. City Gallery, where they take me next, is a big one for Rachel who did a Bachelor of Fine Arts at Otago Polytechnic (Anj did a Bachelor of Fashion at Otago). The final artwork Rachel created for her degree was displayed at the gallery in 2007 as part of the the nannual Telecom Prospect exhibition. Now, she says, their exhibitions rotate every three months or so, “so we make sure we get down and see each one”.
Come October, Rachel and Anjali will have been in business for 10 years. During that time, Twentyseven Names has become a well-oiled machine, with two collections released each year. The girls also opened their third retail store in Newmarket, Auckland, in March, and have plenty more projects in the pipeline – our morning together is fairly rushed as they’re flying to Sydney in the afternoon for a business meeting with a massive retailer. With so much on the go, Wellington’s lowkey vibe suits them perfectly. “We hibernate so hard down here,” says Rachel. “It’s really nice to be able to hunker down and not worry about what else is going on.”
“We hibernate so hard down here. It’s really
nice to be able to hunker down and not worry about what else
is going on”
Rachel in the Twenty-seven Names
Rachel and Anjali with Joe Slater of Six Barrel Soda.