Style File: Jodie Woods from Tonic & Cloth

Jodie Woods Tonic & Cloth

Jodie Woods from Tonic & Cloth. Image supplied.

Designer Jodie Woods launched her ethical womenswear brand Tonic & Cloth this year, with the label making its debut at New Zealand Fashion Week 2018. Jodie grew up with a dressmaking and textiles family so it was inevitable that she would one day have her own clothing label. Tonic & Cloth reflects Jodie’s sustainable and ethical values and is designed and manufactured here in New Zealand.

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

Tell us about your latest collection?
This is my debut collection which has just shown at New Zealand Fashion Week as part of the Good Sustainable Style Show. Every piece is polished yet wearable and made from delicious breathable natural fibres, including organic cotton. I love to play with shape, form, pleats, belts… these are clothes that take delight in the female form but are not afraid to use volume to create an edge. I want women to feel strong and powerful and ‘on point’. So it’s all about thoughtful cuts, hidden elastic and delicious breathable fabrics.

What made you become a designer?
I’ve always loved textiles and sewing. I grew up in the back of my parent’s haberdashery shop, and my Mum taught me to sew when I was eight. Ever since then it’s been my favourite thing to do. My grandmother and mother sewed for the Opera Ballet Company in the seventies, and my great grandmother was an avid and talented knitter. I didn’t stand a chance really! Textiles are in my blood. Then alongside my BA, I also studied for a Bachelor of Business Studies. I love the business side of things as much as the design. It’s challenging problem solving all day long and being able to look back on the progress and see that you’ve made a few good decisions (here and there)!

What inspires you?
A better life for women less fortunate than me. I believe fashion changes lives. I used to say it and hope for it, but now I’m seeing it. I’m seeing positive outcomes from the production decisions we’re making. Woman are being upskilled and empowered. No handouts that will run out. This is women learning how to do something new, then operating out of that new skill set to change their own lives. The power is in their hands.

Style File Jodie Woods from Tonic and Cloth

Tonic & Cloth on the runway at New Zealand Fashion Week 2018.

Describe your personal style and how it influences your designs?
I’m drawn to fabric, so my wardrobe is full of slubby linens, nobbly tweeds, leather, silk satins and lightweight ethereal cotton lawns. Then they all just sort of mix together and have a little party. Oh and I’m a bit of a magpie. I’m not sure it gets better than a herringbone wool suiting with a lurex fleck. Stop it, stop it right now! My designs reflect my love affair with textiles, it starts with the fabric – then I design out from there.

What is your all-⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠time favourite purchase?
My Loyal Workshop Goodstead satchel, which I’m now stoked to be selling on my website. It’s made from eco tanned leather, and then stitched by women who because of their opportunity to make these bags, are no longer bound to the sex trade. The satchel has the makers name etched inside it. It is beyond stunning and will forever be my go-to bag.

What wardrobe item should everyone invest in?
I think every piece should be an investment. Buy less, but make it count. Adore it. Enjoy it – love the pants off it!  Holidays are times when I have the most wardrobe clarity, because I take the bare bones, always my faves, and there is no clutter to distract from them – then I’m free to love and enjoy them. It’s a real lesson in how little you need to truly enjoy ‘fashion’.

Do you have a style rule you always obey?
I read a thesis once about how we communicate with our clothes, and the reality is that no matter how we dress – we are always communicating something. I used to think trackpants made me invisible, that they turned the volume down on my communication. But no! We are always communicating, so the style rule I always obey is ‘be careful about the message’. Say what you mean to say.  So what happens on when it’s Monday and you want to dress like Sunday? That’s when you need your Monday Clothes That Feel Like Sunday! Tonic & Cloth!

Style File Jodie Woods from Tonic and Cloth

Tonic & Cloth on the runway at New Zealand Fashion Week 2018.

What has been the highlight of your career so far?
NZ Fashion Week! It was such an honour to show beside a bunch of incredibly talented and big hearted and switched on designers at the Good Sustainable Style Show. I had never even been to fashion week before, so to go for the first time as an exhibitor was just incredible.

What can’t you live without?
My walking shoes and my Spotify account.

Finish this sentence – You would never catch me wearing…
‘Never say never’ – your never know what shape or colour or style might float your boat today. People change, and we need to remain open to that growth and change in ourselves. Or all those rules will have us lose something along the way. Ultimately, we outgrow ourselves and our clothing choices should have the freedom to reflect that growth.

Images supplied.

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