Auckland designer Wynn Crawshaw has blown Australian Fashion Week with his semi-eponymous label Wynn Hamlyn debuting the Resort ’23 collection on Tuesday night in Sydney – taking inspiration from the border opening and looks you’ll see in the departure lounges.
The collection, which will be available to New Zealand fans from October and November, showcases many of Wynn Hamlyn’s familiar signatures, including bold colors, contemporary touches to knitwear, and an appreciation for craft details – alongside travel-appropriate puffer jackets and prints. tropical.
This is the first time the brand has appeared on the AFW schedule, and comes after NZ Fashion Week was canceled earlier this year. Wynn Hamlyn is the only New Zealand-based brand with official events on schedule at Australia’s largest fashion event.
Australia has historically been a lucrative market for New Zealand fashion brands looking to expand internationally, with designers such as Kate Sylvester and Maggie Marilyn having featured as part of AFW in recent years.
We spoke with Wynn Hamlyn brand manager (and Crawshaw designer wife) Lana Morrison Crawshaw the morning after the show, to hear more about the collection and what it means for the brand.
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TB: Congratulations! How was the show?
LMC: It was a big effort, but we feel really excited. This is a huge lead to getting us featured at Australian Fashion Week – it’s something that has moved since last year in many ways.
It’s really amazing to do it, especially with all the border challenges. It was great planning and organizing from New Zealand and then seeing it come to life right in front of us.
We have great feedback. Many people are buzzing and saying “best show of the week!” I’ve only heard good feedback, so I hope it stays true!
How is that remote approach different from how you usually prepare for a show?
It was different in many ways, but it felt like a step forward for us.
We haven’t appeared in a long time. Obviously in the past we’ve shown at NZ Fashion Week, which are similar but on a different scale.
Wynn said to me before the show, “this is so weird” because he’s all about clothing making — and in an ideal world, he’d be working on something in the studio until the wee hours of the morning if he could. This format doesn’t allow that.
Tell me about the collection you show?
This collection, Wynn named Departure Lounge. It’s inspired by the open world again – but more than that, the looks you see in the departure lounge.
It’s a feeling of anticipation from everyone getting ready to travel again, and people wearing their holiday gear as a sign or badge of a place they’ve been – or where they’re going.
I like the idea of going to Hawaii and buying your shirt from a gift shop, or maybe you’ve bought a puffer jacket on sale somewhere and can’t fit it in your suitcase, so you put on your puffer. Or you’ve spent the weekend hiking, so you’ve got Solomon [hiking boots] on.
It’s about juxtaposing taking things from where you were and giving them new life. It’s kind of a game where we are in the world today and we think about where we want to go.
Tell me about the place – the old railway tunnel?
We were shown in the rail tunnel, under Central Station at Sydney’s Haymarket. I’m not even sure who invented it, but it really fits the transit space theme and goes somewhere.
But we also wanted to present something at Australian Fashion Week that was a very different offering to what traditional Australian brands had to offer.
You are the only Kiwi brand, and the only international brand, to be featured at this year’s Australian Fashion Week. What motivates you to perform across the trenches?
For us, especially during this pandemic, Australia has become a second home for the brand. We’ve really grown a strong presence here with our amazing partners and stockists, so it felt like the perfect time to amplify something and talk to those consumers.
At the same time, the world is open, and we are back doing international shows and this is [one of] the first fashion week that the international press, media and shoppers have been through.
It felt like a real chance to meet them a little closer to home and be able to show, in our terms, who we are.
There’s a strong Kiwi component in Sydney this week too – is it nice to have local support around you?
Yes, Jessie [Wong] from Yu Mei is here and jeweler Jasmin Sparrow, who I am good friends with, had some jewelery on display at the Beare Park show. Many Kiwi brands see Australia as a great opportunity.
We have strong friendships with many Australians here, but it’s always great to have people around you who really know you and the brand.
You talked earlier about this collection representing where you want to go. Where will you appear next?
I want to dream big and say it will happen in New York, another big leap for us. But that’s soon I think!