Idea turns reality for designer
Jimmie MacKay’s day job brings out his compassionate side — by night and in his spare time, he gets creative.
Funeral director and fashion designer Jimmie has had his latest JIMI collection chosen for the second year running in the Miromoda section of this year’s New Zealand Fashion Week. I caught up with Jimmie and asked him a bit about his world of fashion.
■ This is the second time you’ve been shown at Fashion Week?
Yes, I showcased my first collection in 2017. The first collection was both men’s and women’s but this year I have focused on creating a unisex range which was all worn by male models.
■ Can you tell us about Miromoda?
Miromoda and New Zealand Fashion Week founder Dame Pieter Stewart have created an endowment to support the next generation of Ma¯ ori fashion designers. Miromoda primarily achieves this by organising an annual Ma¯ ori Fashion Design Awards competition and a showcase at NZ Fashion Week (NZFW). I presented my mini collection at Pa¯ taka Art Museum earlier this year and was selected by a panel to showcase at Fashion Week this year.
■ Tell me a bit about which clothes you entered and why?
I entered a line of menswear/ unisex wear. I created looks I thought would show well on the runway. The clothes are super wearable and they have a casualness about them. Men’s fashion often gets pushed aside, and I think the younger generations are embracing individualism a lot more.
■ Did you have a brief?
Not really. There were three categories — Emerging, Established and Avant-garde.
■ What was your collection called and what inspired it?
925. The collection was based around the idea of packing for a holiday. So, for me I like to have a bunch of empowering outfits when I go away — holiday clothes are a little more daring. There are a ton of different fabrics and colourways that are easy to wear. So the 925 collection covers everything you would need for a trip anywhere.
■ Did you get to choose your models and were you happy with them?
I didn’t choose the models but I was really pleased when it came to dressing. The models were all different races — perfect — and fitted everything perfectly.
■ How do you feel watching your clothes on the runway?
So glad to see them go down the runway. It’s so cool seeing a vision come into fruition.
■ Are you really critical of yourself?
Super critical. It’s something I work on and I know that if I’m too critical of myself I lose the fun side of the process. So, I remind myself to compliment myself every now and then as well.
■ Did you see things you could have done differently as the models walked by?
Overall, I was really happy with the outcome. As a creative there are always things you could have done better. For me, I think I could have made more accessories but with short time frames and an already busy schedule that isn’t always possible. I was upset at first but once I saw my vision on the models I knew the looks were runway ready.
■ What was the feedback from judges?
The judges’ feedback was mostly delivered in Wellington, however I made a few more outfits the panel had not seen, and the reception was overwhelmingly good. I managed to meet new clients who I am currently creating custom outfits for so stay tuned.
■ Where to from here?
I will continue to expand and create my product line locally. Once I have built up the brand I will venture further out. I believe that good craftsmanship doesn’t go unnoticed and I think that over time people will see that the work put into every garment/accessory has been to maximise the product’s durability. I love garments that wear into something unexpected you can’t just toss out.
My vision is for JIMI becoming a staple NZ label. I’d love to see my creation on billboards in major cities and travelling for photo shoots has always been a dream.
■ Most rewarding parts of the overall experience?
Doing Fashion Week for a second time I have realised how much I love working with fabrics. I think I will always be a creator. One of the most rewarding things was working with skilled local people. The knowledge and patience these people have has been humbling. JIMI is a brand transitioned from an idea into a reality. The confidence in my ability to create has been amazing. From two years ago to now, the education I have gained has led me to believe that in the coming years this will become something much bigger.
Models wearing JIMI at New Zealand Fashion Week.