FASH­ION’S NEW GUARD

The young de­sign­ers mak­ing waves

Fashion Quarterly - - Inside - Wynn Craw­shaw @wynnham­lyn | wynnham­lyn.com

Afew years ago, Wynn Craw­shaw was work­ing as a land sur­veyor, and he was bored. So, he did what (prob­a­bly) no land sur­veyor had done be­fore him, and he started his own cloth­ing la­bel. It wasn’t com­pletely out of the blue – he’d com­pleted as­pects of a fash­ion de­sign de­gree at both Otago Polytech­nic and then at Auck­land Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy. But when nei­ther stuck, he en­gi­neered his own fate, ap­proach­ing Auck­land de­signer bou­tique Fabric with a col­lec­tion of knitwear that they hap­pily snapped up.

Since then, Wynn’s star has con­tin­ued to rise. In 2015 he showed at New Zealand Fash­ion Week as part of the Choose Wool group show. In March 2016 he pre­sented his spring/ sum­mer 2016 col­lec­tion at Auck­land’s Gus Fisher Gallery, and in Septem­ber he re­turned to NZFW where his au­tumn/ win­ter 2017 show seemed to have a mo­nop­oly on me­dia cov­er­age. “There were many cir­cum­stances that played into that, in­clud­ing the num­ber of de­sign­ers not show­ing,” he says. “But I was happy to be there to cap­i­talise on the mo­ment.”

This is Wynn be­ing hum­ble. The col­lec­tion – named ‘Axmin­ster’, af­ter the old-school car­pets com­monly found in coun­try houses and ho­tels – was a stand­out, not least for the full-length coats and bags that spoke di­rectly to its in­spi­ra­tion. Sadly, any­one hop­ing to get their hands on a highly cov­eted coat has an­other thing com­ing. De­spite the buzz sur­round­ing them, they haven’t made it into pro­duc­tion. “The thing is, they were lit­er­ally made of car­pet. They weighed, like, 20 ki­los – the mod­els could hardly walk in them,” says Wynn. Pun­ters will be pleased to know that the bags, at least, are vi­able. “I’m team­ing up with Jessie Wong to bring those into be­ing,” says Wynn, re­fer­ring to the Welling­ton-based de­signer be­hind lux­ury leather-goods brand Yu Mei.

With vi­a­bil­ity a con­cern for the de­signer, it’s in­ter­est­ing that he has em­braced the tra­di­tional fash­ion show model at a time when both emerg­ing and es­tab­lished brands are ques­tion­ing its rel­e­vance. He agrees with as­pects of that ar­gu­ment, but says the main rea­son he loves be­ing a de­signer is see­ing ev­ery­thing come to­gether on the run­way. “I think mak­ing col­lec­tions would be a lot more mun­dane for me if I couldn’t cel­e­brate with a show at the end. And the shows have def­i­nitely been the big­gest push in terms of mar­ket­ing .”

Off the back of NZFW, the brand was picked up by two lo­cal stock­ists, in­clud­ing pop­u­lar Auck­land bou­tique Black Box, owned by Stolen Girl­friends Club’s Dan Gosling. For team Wynn Ham­lyn – which con­sists of the de­signer, his parter, Lana Mor­ri­son (consultant and sales-trip com­pan­ion), his mother, Jill Ham­lyn (brand name­sake and book­keeper) and stylist Oliver Guyon – a busy year awaits. Wynn isn’t fazed. “I’m burst­ing with ideas for fu­ture col­lec­tions,” he says. The other good news? “As long as peo­ple are keen to keep com­ing out, I’m keen to keep show­ing.” Mes­sage re­ceived.

“Mak­ing col­lec­tions would

be a lot more mun­dane for me if I couldn’t cel­e­brate

with a show”

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