It’s not just her voters that have reason to celebrate New Zealand’s new Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern. Kiwi designers are also looking to the future as their designs are set to be seen on a global stage, worn by the “most visible person in New Zealand”, reports The New Zealand Herald.

Jacinda is putting local designers in the spotlight

Photo credit

Designers Emilie Pullar and Abby van Schreven from Maaike saw their one-off burgundy shirt-dress and draped jacket for Ardern’s election night outfit splashed across front pages worldwide. The designers have a long relationship with the new PM and asked if they could create something bespoke her.

“We had a vision for what we wanted to make for her and she put her trust in us.” – Emilie Pullar

As a supporter of local designers, Ardern wore local labels like Maaike, Kate Sylvester and Ingrid Starnes during her campaign. She is also reported to have Tanya Carlson, Juliette Hogan and Harman Grubisa in her wardrobe.

Ardern is a regular customer at Tanya Carlson’s Ponsonby Road store, who says she usually shops alone and chooses her own clothes, saying

“She’s is very comfortable with what she wears. She’s young and she has quite a youthful edge to what she chooses. She is very aware of the effort that goes into designing and manufacturing in New Zealand and she has always been supportive of local industry.” – Tanya Carlson

Ingrid Starnes was thrilled to see Ardern in her designs on the televised Leader’s Debate, saying,

“It’s been such an honour to be along the journey in a small way as Jacinda has chosen to wear our clothes for some of her big moments. Any time a woman chooses to wear things we’ve made for an important day it’s a real thrill. But to see someone making history and in the New York Times in something that you were constructing that afternoon is a really special feeling.” – Ingrid Starnes

Starnes went on to say that despite the whirlwind few weeks since the election Ardern took the time to personally say thanks and sent her team a thank you card.

According to Murray Bevan at fashion PR company Showroom 22, Ardern was genuine with the support she gave New Zealand designers.

“She has always worn New Zealand designs and has specifically asked for designers Harman Gruisa and Ingrid Starnes who make their clothes in New Zealand.” – Murray Bevan

Associate editor at Viva Zoe Walker thinks the fact that Ardern continued to support local designers is “significant and exciting”.

“Policies and what she achieves in her new role are considerably more important than what she wears, but Jacinda is making a deliberate choice to support local creatives, the fashion industry and, importantly, businesses by wearing these items.

“The majority of the garments are New Zealand made too, so she’s spotlighting local manufacturing – which I know is something important, and motivating, to the designers she has worn. Jacinda is now the most visible person in New Zealand, so her choices – in what she does, says, buys, and yes, wears – do stand for something.” – Zoe Walker

Main Photo Credit: WSJ

Melissa Reid

Melissa Reid

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