Designer Pania Greenaway. Image supplied.
Pania Greenaway showed a beautiful womenswear collection as part of the New Generation show at New Zealand Fashion Week 2017 after previously showing as part of the Miromoda show. The talented designer designs and makes her label here in New Zealand with ethical and sustainable principles in mind. Pania finds inspiration in her Māori heritage for her contemporary designs and is currently in London showing as part of the London Pacific Fashion Collective’s event.
We caught up with Pania 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’ve always been interested in Astrology so often in my work there is some subtle or not so subtle reference to the stars or planets. A/W 18 is called Rock Me Venus; it is also inspired by past visionaries that I have admired. Venus has been used by many cultures to navigate and hold course. It is the bright evening and morning star that helped guide the great navigators of the Pacific though unpredictable and changing circumstances keeping them on course to Aotearoa. I was thinking of people who light up like Venus and in 2016 artists and stars that have influenced me greatly passed away. This collection acknowledges those visionaries and the impact they had on the world.
The Ali pant with its high waist boxing band and the Ali Jacket is a zero waste designed jacket/cape. There are a lot of Prince frills and billowy Bowie pants and sleeves, one of my favourites are the purple rain top with a double frill down the front. Rock Me Venus also explores alternative pattern making techniques. Zero waste pattern making was used to create the Ali kimono jacket and some of the skirts. The moon phases asymmetrical jersey is a one-piece 3D knitted garment. With this collection I wanted to incorporate more sustainable methods to create garments. I believe it’s the way forward. These pieces are mixed with textured fabrics and relaxed silhouettes to create an effortless romantic rock vibe.
What made you become a designer?
Growing up around spectacularly dressed women. My mum, aunts and grandmothers. I think it was more common place for people from my Grandmothers’ and mother’s era to sew and make their clothes. Watching the transformation from fabric to a garment to a finished look always fascinated me. I thought it was magical. I have sewed and made clothes since I was young but it has been really in the last 10 years I decided I was going to do this as my job, so I went back to university and finished my design degree and started my own label and it feels right. I work long hours at the moment and a lot of them alone but I love it and wouldn’t do anything else.
What inspires you?
The night sky, water, art, people, culture, music, theatre, a beautifully designed light or piece of furniture. So many things! Travel is one of my favourite things to do because its like an explosion of new experiences.
Pania Greenaway’s A/W 2018 collection on the runway at New Zealand Fashion Week 2017.
Describe your personal style and how it influences your designs?
My style is definitely a mix of casual classic glam with an edgy rock vibe on the side. I love contrast and layers. I can wear something more simple and classic like pants or a dress and layer it with a ripped tee and jacket or a frilly Prince inspired dress! I love a huge overstated pant with a fitted tee I definitely like the contrast and the ability to add a little bit of drama to a look. I always have more understated pieces and separates that can be worn on their own or with the more sculptural or dramatic pieces in my collections.
What is your all-time favourite purchase?
A 120-year-old Tibetan prayer cabinet. I bought it years ago it is hand made with no nails, hand carved and beautifully painted. It is worn and aged and cost me a small fortune but I love that so much care and craftsmanship was put into making it and it is still in use today. If we are talking clothing it would have to be a long backless black velvet dress I bought from David Pond in the 90’s, it’s timeless in design and I used to wear it with Docs and a plaid shirt and it has doubled as an evening dress whenever I had to go somewhere formal (I’m sure that was its original purpose).
What wardrobe item should every woman invest in?
A unique item that is you and can elevate your look to next level cool. If you don’t have one commission a piece of jewellery, hand paint or embellish a jacket or create a scent, something that has your vibes and feels.
Do you have a style rule you always obey?
I don’t have rules my husband says I’m a guidelines girl. He’s always telling me that they are road RULES not road guidelines! So I suppose as long as you feel comfortable and confident then wear it because it will show if you are and it will show if you’re not.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
So many so far I feel like every year brings more highlights. Showing at NZFW and being invited to show my collections around the globe and in NZ and Australia. Probably the biggest buzz is when people buy your garments or tell you how much they love them. The customers are awesome and without them I wouldn’t be able to do this. Just being able to do what I love is a highlight!
What can’t you live without?
I feel like I should say hubby, children and family but probably coffee and my phone it has my life on it.
Finish this sentence – You would never catch me wearing…
My PJ’s outside the house.