Designer Grace Kleinsman. Image supplied.
Grace Kleinsman founded her eponymous clothing label in 2018 with the aim of doing things a bit differently. Instead of creating seasonal collections Grace creates most garments to order which minimises waste, and as those garments are often made-to-measure each customer is getting something that fits them perfectly. Through her website Grace offers some unique ready-to-wear pieces including womenswear and childrenswear made from recycled materials, she also offers a bespoke bridal service too.
We caught up with Grace to find out more about her brand, what inspires her and what you would never catch her wearing!
Tell us about your latest collection?
I don’t generally offer collections as such, I mainly work with recycled fabrics, making one-off garments to specific measurements as part of an effort to be more sustainable. I did, however, have a recent summer drop made entirely from vintage fabrics – bright, and retro patterns. The idea with each of my releases is that the client chooses a style that can then be made to measure in their choice of fabrics. Each piece is then a one-off item that is unique to them. I love the connection this process creates between wearer and garment. My garments are all about buying less and getting exactly what you want from a garment so it can last the test of time.
What made you become a designer?
I’ve always loved to sew. A huge part of my drive came from my Grandmothers who were both creative and beautiful women. I sewed myself clothes throughout school and then went on to study at Fashion tech. I never really thought I would have my own business but after seeing some of the worst sides of the fast fashion industry, the direction I wanted to take became clear. I also had a lot of friends and family who struggled to get clothing that actually fitted and was what they wanted. Hence I had the idea to start my business to create clothing made to you rather than to a standard size. Making clothes is a very calming process for me and the rewards are huge.
What inspires you?
Vintage styles, op-shopping, fabrics, outdoors and beautiful scenery, people.
Looks by Grace Kleinsman.
Describe your personal style and how it influences your designs?
I would describe my style as consciously casual – I wear a lot of simple dresses in bold prints or full wide leg pants and a tee. I also buy a lot of second hand clothing and fabrics. Comfort is important to me and in my designs I aim to create pieces that are also versatile. I think people should be able to feel good about what they wear, as well as in what they wear.
What is your all-time favourite purchase?
In terms of clothing, I’m always most excited about fabrics. It’s always exciting when I find a really beautiful piece of vintage fabric. If I had to pick one it would be the first lot of vintage NZ wool blankets, they’ve become a huge part of my business, and my own look. Outside of clothing, I love to collect vintage homeware, my kitchen is full of Crown Lynn.
What wardrobe item should everyone invest in?
A blanket coat, the warmest and snugglest piece I own. In winter I live in mine! Makes those dark winter days much more bearable.
Do you have a style rule you always obey?
No, fashion is ever changing and I think going with the flow is important. In saying that I think I always do stick to clean lines whatever I create, and comfort should always be a priority.
Looks by Grace Kleinsman.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Launching my business, my first sale, and actually every sale and every customer I see wearing something of mine is a highlight. I drove passed two little girls wearing my hats last week, it really made my day.
What can’t you live without?
My plants, my beautiful family and friends.
Finish this sentence – You would never catch me wearing…
I can’t quite picture myself in one of those skin tight bodysuits, but never say never.