Style File: Bobby Luke from Campbell Luke

Style File Bobby Campbell from Campbell Luke

Designer Bobby Campbell from Campbell Luke. Image by James Yang.

Bobby Campbell is the designer behind womenswear label Campbell Luke and founded his brand upon graduating with a Bachelor of Fashion in 2014. Bobby has shown his label at New Zealand Fashion Week debuting in the New Generation Show and competing in the Miromoda competition of which the top designers show on the runway. Bobby works in aspects of his Māori heritage to his garments, making statements about the colonisation of Aotearoa and utilising his art background to champion his ideas.

We caught up with Bobby to find out more about his brand, what inspires him and what you would never catch him wearing!

Tell us about your latest collection?
My latest collection is titled Kakahu Hou (kakahu is clothes in Māori and Hou simply means breath, wind, air etc.) Kakahu Hou also means in the context of the collection the ‘breath of new Cloth’. As a designer, constant refining is a must within the industry and in this space, you discover who you are and what your kaupapa (values and principles) are. My aesthetic is based on nostalgia and I continuously refer back to old photographs or images of my forefathers particularly my family and what they wore. Growing up at my mother’s knee as a child at the Pā (Marae) this space has been a constant inspiration. This inspiration has lead me to re-design the apron, I find fascinating the idea of tying something on and off and changing it to how the wear likes it. So, within Kakahu Hou you will see many what may seem to look like skirts are actually aprons and pinafores. Another aspect to the collection is the sourcing of materials, as we know the fashion industry is the third biggest contributor to the world’s waste. I thought whilst my concept is based around nostalgia why not use the clothes or textile articles used in the space of my inspiration. I took old textiles such as table cloths, duvet covers, curtains and tea towels. I aimed to give new life to old textiles hence the titled Kakahu Hou, ‘The Breath of New Cloth’.

What made you become a designer?
Well, as I was growing up I had a huge fascination with art, there were times where would even wag school some days just to train into town and go to Auckland Art Gallery and like any other art student I took all art subjects and used my creativity as a voice. As I got older I became a volunteer for which was called back then Air New Zealand Fashion week as a usher. Soon after I landed my first internship at 17 years old at Trelise Cooper and from then on in I have been in industry ever since.

What inspires you?
Artists like Ans Westra, Christian Boltanski, Lisa Reihana, and many forms of digital art.

Style File Bobby Campbell from Campbell Luke

Looks from Campbell Luke’s Kakahu Hou collection. 

Describe your personal style and how it influences your designs?
Again, my style is nostalgic, a good op shop find is always a bargain. I wear a lot of my dad’s old clothes, but I like to invest in something that will last me for a long time, I’m a sucker for a good coat and shoe.

What is your all-⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠time favourite purchase?
My Kowtow oversized jacket that I’ve had for 5 years and still wear today!

What wardrobe item should everyone invest in?
A good coat.

Do you have a style rule you always obey?
I think there should be no rules, it lessens the freedom of expressing your self!

Style File Bobby Campbell from Campbell Luke

Looks from Campbell Luke’s Kakahu Hou collection. 

What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Completing a Master’s degree with first class honours while managing a small business it’s been hard work and to add to it I am currently doing my Ph.D.

What can’t you live without?
COFFEE !

Finish this sentence – You would never catch me wearing…
Singlet and stubbies like my old man haha.

Images supplied.

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