Established in 2006 by designer Kirsha Whitcher, the Salasai label has fast gained a reputation as being a major player in the New Zealand fashion scene. Known for its conceptually designed codes for dressing, Whitcher applied her design expertise with an innovative approach to create an a seriously cool collection this season--effortless with natural mix of silhouettes featuring a perfect fit for both men and women. The Salasai show was held at a hidden off-site venue and the collection was impeccably styled with a tomboy chic approach to womenswear as well as some directional unisex pieces for both men and women. In particular, we loved the printed bomber jacket, the short-sleeved wool coat and the Amoureux jumper, all incredibly vibrant. It was obvious just who the Salasai girl is: she is “smart, sassy and strong and she doesn’t have to try so hard. Everything about her is effortless and quietly confident.” Electric sekki was lucky enough to sit down with Kirsha and Kelly at their showroom during New Zealand Fashion Week, ask a few questions and look through the collection.
What is your creative process?
Our creative process is very conceptual; we start with an idea, translate it into the print and bring all our different ideas together.
Outside of the fashion world, what are your biggest influences and inspirations?
My biggest influences are film architecture and history; I am totally guided by beauty of yesteryear and reinventing a time we loved to remember but with a modernist angle bought to life with artwork and colour.
At what moment did you know you wanted to be a designer?
My mother was a machinist and made clothes for markets, my Aunt was a pattern cutter in Sydney and had her own design room - I used to love being in there with her. From an early age, being in the fashion industry was in my blood and I knew it was the right choice for me since I started making my own clothes as a teenager. My final decision to become a designer came in my 3rd year at fashion school when I felt confident in my own handwriting and aesthetic!
The incredible crystal chokers and dewy make-up backstage at the show.
Who are your fashion icons?
My fashion icons are Michael Pitt and girlfriend Jamie Bochet and Kristen Mcmenamy.
How do you feel Salasai represents New Zealand's culture and fashion sensibilities?
Being from NZ there are underground rules I seem to design to in regards to our culture. We are a modest nation, used to covering up for cold weather and not used to showing our bodies off !! I feel Salasai does this in its own way, we pair a mini skirt with an oversized sweatshirt, or a low cut front dress long to the floor. There is a sense of balance to the way I design, I like to mix it up and down.
Designer Kirsha and Brand Manager Kelly after the show.
What do you think about the fashion in Asia?
I think there is a gap in the market for NZ brands in Asia - I feel Asian fashion is progressing, there is now a demand for something not so easily found and unique. I would hope that Salasai will translate well into the Asian market.
The models backstage.
See more from New Zealand Fashion Week here.