I’m Jessica, some of you may have seen me working in the boutique or helping Amber out at her fashion shows and events. As you may know Amber is pregnant and due in May, so she will be taking a little bit of time off this year – that is where I come in! I will be taking over full time to make sure our lovely customers are looked after and to also keep things running smoothly.
Just thought I would properly introduce myself and tell you a little more about me. I am 21 years old and of Chinese NZ European descent. I started working for Amber Whitecliffe part time in August 2014 while I was studying a Bachelor of Fine Arts (fashion major) at Whitecliffe College of Arts and Design.
Last year in November at the Whitecliffe College Fashion Show, I presented my graduate collection, Monarch (pictured above). I was inspired by the architecture and hierarchal system of the Qing dynasty of the Forbidden City in China. I incorporated sustainable and ethical practices throughout my collection – some methods were quite labour intensive which was a great learning experience; I grew a biodegradable fabric from a kombucha scoby, naturally dyed silk, hand-knitted garments, up-cycled old garments to give them a new life and used dead stock materials from New Zealand designers (one of them being a beautiful black wool/cashmere from Amber!).
Earlier in 2015, I was one of ten fashion design students in New Zealand to be chosen to participate in the New Zealand and Vietnam Fashion Collaboration. We were partnered with a Vietnamese fashion student and had to design and make a capsule collection to be presented at a fashion show held in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam – we had to design and make everything before we were able to meet our partners for the first time! (pictured above) The collaboration was launched by the embassies to celebrate the forty year relationship between New Zealand and Vietnam.
I have always loved designing and making garments that people enjoy wearing, so being able to be a part of a small New Zealand made label has been really inspiring. Working with Amber has taught me how important it is to go above and beyond for customers to ensure that the fit is perfect ! Together, Amber and I create a concept and find inspiration, design the collections, source materials, draft the pattern, cut garments out of the fabric, drop it off to our local seamstress, photograph it and merchandise the store!
I look forward to having the chance to get to know all of Amber’s loyal customers, create new ones and share with you my excitement and love for fashion. Next time you visit our boutique, come say hi and let me know how you discovered Amber Whitecliffe!