At 57 years old, Robyn Reynolds might be considered a bit of a late bloomer in the fashion world.
She started her fashion design career in 2000 and now, was looking to expand her boutique fashion label Go Clothing to other parts of the country.
Reynolds moved to Nelson from Wellington to take a fashion and textile course at the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology after running a clothing business in Wellington for six years.
As a single mother with a young daughter, Reynolds said it was a struggle going into study and then setting up her label, but she also knew exactly what she wanted out of the course.
She said her age helped her succeed because she has had a lot of time to think about what she wanted.
“I’m the only one out of my class who’s still going. A lot of [the other students] just like fashion. I knew that in the fashion industry, it’s hard work.
“You have to be able to clean the loos, you have to sweep the floors, you have to sew the garments, you have to do everything. And I don’t think a lot of the girls and guys knew the reality of it.”
Reynolds grew up with five brothers and a sister in Hamilton and education was not a top priority in her family.
“It was get married, have babies, get a house. I tried that. Didn’t work out,” she said.
She left school at 15 with no qualifications and no idea what she wanted to do.
She spent 18 months in London, which sparked her creativity, and she returned to New Zealand and opened a clothing store with her sister.
But it was not until her late 30s that she felt she had the creativity needed to launch a successful clothing label.
Reynolds attributed her loyal circle of customers to her clothing line’s bright colours, strong fabrics and enduring designs.
Her philosophy was that her customers had to be able to wear and wash her clothes at least three times a week without ruining the fabric or the garment losing its shape.
Her small team of four makes every item from scratch and in limited numbers.
“Art is with me every day and I incorporate that into my work. That’s why I don’t like to mass produce garments,” Reynolds said.
“I don’t follow fashion, I don’t read magazines. I don’t even know what 2016 winter is. I purely listen to my customers.”
Original Article: Stuff.nz