Désirée is from New Zealand, a country I fell in love with a few years ago. It has incredible beauty, grace and a certain ability to reach deep into my soul.
I love Désirée’s style because her designs aim to flatter various shapes and sizes. I know a lot of women who want to feel graceful, beautiful and stylish, no matter their body type. Another element that is oh so important is feeling comfortable. I know I’ve bought some clothes before that were incredibly stylish, yet, I did not feel fully comfortable. I had to keep tugging something sideways or pulling something up …or down!
I also love classic style; clothes that not only compliment one’s figure, but last through fashion trends. Clothing by Désirée designs are known for being timeless and trans-seasonal.
Désirée specialises in women’s clothing and began studying from an early age. She shared how her creative flare for fashion began at 12 years old, then made her first skirt when she was 14. After getting married, her passion was felt and supported by her husband, and with children on the way, they subsequently pursued the idea of a home clothing business.
I asked about her inspirations and she expressed her connection to KowTow designer, Gosia. “I attended a talk she gave at the Women’s Collective (NZ) and it was so inspiring hearing how dedicated she is about sustainability. I attended her talk at a time when I was really unsure what direction I wanted to head in and listening to her story was inspiring.”
I haven’t come across any business owner who hasn’t had their fair share of challenges. Désirée offered insights of her own where she built everything she has now from absolutely nothing and knowing no one. “I can see how having capital and a network would have sped the process up, but I also know that taking the hard road has shaped my character.”
I feel very connected to her words. The path to success is unique for everyone and how one interprets success. I too also feel challenges can shape a person and develop qualities such as patience, gratitude and one’s resolve.
At this point I recall sitting at the Lake of Mirrors in New Zealand, early one morning before the sunrise; sitting and waiting patiently for the perfect photograph. The lake was indeed like glass, occasionally rippling with the silent wade of a water bird. It was incredibly peaceful. I am in constantly awe of how nature’s influence can be so powerful and so unassuming at the same time.
Désirée emphasised the significance of nature in her business. “Fabric is so important to the designing process because a different fabric can completely change the look. Natural fibres are definitely something I look for when I am choosing fabrics and they suit our brand ethos the most. Our customers love them too! This coming season will have organic cottons and also some bamboo fabric and they are just so soft and beautiful.”
She also explained the importance of local production for her brand and that all her sources are currently New Zealand wholesalers. (Charles Parsons, Cooper Watkins Textiles, Fabric Merchant and Nutex). “I have also recently met with Fern Textiles from Australia because they offer some beautiful organic fabrics and they are totally transparent with where their fabrics come from which, unfortunately other wholesalers are not.”
I feel a sense of gratitude because of my passion for organic business and fair-trade, knowing that there are many others who feel similarly and are on the edges of change in the business world. “Ethical business to me is all about being considerate and kind. Considering the people involved with all aspects of the business and taking good care of them, along with considering the environment and being kind to it. I like to take the time to stop and ask, ‘how would I feel if that happened to me?’ and making sure I would be happy to be on the receiving end.” says Désirée. “There are both pros and cons to free-trade, really my point of view is that artisans and people creating things ethically need to have free-trade and those mass producing in unethical situations need to be restricted. Obviously easier said than done.” she added.
I know in my heart, I can live with myself more gracefully and honestly if I choose to purchase something knowing that the creation process was fair and respectful for all concerned. It is an artistic creation and a weaving of many hands, including natures hands. As Désirée pointed out, being aware of my actions and the consequences that may occur is important to reflect on, not only as a conscious business owner, but also as a participant in my community.
I find myself back at the tranquil mirror lake again, then memories of climbing glaciers on the South Island. The beauty of those experiences has been and will continue to be an incredible inspiration for the artist inside. As I reflect on various exciting projects, I am also delighted to hear some of Désirée’s in the making. “There are always different projects I am working on. The biggest is the next collection for our label ‘Désirée’. We do two a year and they are always a labour of love - full of up’s and down’s, but mostly up’s.”
I am always moved by people’s stories, how each path is unique, yet connected somehow. I love the creative process and how it weaves its way like thread, navigating and folding in with every other thread.
Désirée shares some words of wisdom for those with a dream to start a design business: “Learn from other people’s mistakes first. Research people doing what you want to do; talk to them, read up about them or even do work experience for them. There is so much to learn from those who have gone before you and so it makes sense to find out what has and hasn’t worked for them and start your new business full of knowledge and ideas.”
I was told once that when I have a dream, dream it, live it, create it because it’s a dream born from the heart, from the infinite process of creation and the divine. What binds it all together is trust.
Blog written by Laura Naomi
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Courtesy of Desiree Clothing. Photographer Charles Turner. Model in sneak peek image is Joanna Watkinson
Blogs are inspired by transformation of the human spirit, by love, wellness and the journey of the soul. The writing is to inspire and raise awareness.