Jacinda Ardern, current Prime Minister of New Zealand and head of the Labour Party has gained international media coverage during these recent times.
Jacinda Ardern has been praised for her efforts in "eliminating" the coronavirus outbreak and "squashing" the curve in New Zealand. With only 1 new covid-19 cases in the past 9 days - New Zealand currently sits in Level 2 - with Level 1 potentially on the horizon. Her message has been clear "Stay Strong. Be Kind."
As well as New Zealand's Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern holds the roles of Minister for National Security and Intelligence, Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, and Minister for Child Poverty Reduction.
Bridget Morgan, our head designer for Kapeka, spent a day with Jacinda back before she was Prime Minister. They were able to hang out, like fellow Kiwi's do and support local businesses and brands on Waiheke Island. Bridget has previously spent time with us explaining the importance in being made in New Zealand, we discussed the challenges, benefits and rewarding factors of being made locally in New Zealand - you can find the blog post here.
We chat with Bridget to find out what it is like spending a day with Jacinda Ardern and having her as a model!
Tell us about the initiative - what was it for and how was Jacinda Ardern involved?
Jacinda was invited to model Kapeka's latest range in a fashion show. The show promoted local designers on Waiheke with collections made in New Zealand.
How did the day with Jacinda go? What happened?
Jacinda came for a fitting to my design studio on Waiheke. I am based on Waiheke as it is a great supportive place for a designer like myself! We have many creative people living here including artists, musicians, photographers and actors. It is a great place to share ideas and aspirations. We had a cup of tea & chatted on New Zealand fashion. The evening event was at one of the local venues on Waiheke and was well attended by many fashion lovers. The female and male models were all experienced, Jacinda was the star guest!At the end, after a fun night we gave her a garment from the range to say thank you for her time - she was very friendly to everyone and joined in as one of the modelling team!
We see Jacinda a lot in the media but what was she like to be with in person?
Jacinda was very natural, she was easy to talk to and genuinely interested in New Zealand made fashion.
We discussed all the processes of creating a fashion collection in New Zealand from sustainably sourcing the fine fibres to the hand-finished garment.
Starting with Super-fine Merino wool from the High Country stations, the eco-possum fibre that we use to help to control wild possum numbers, processing & spinning of the yarns then knitting & garment construction - we covered it all! We spoke on New Zealand manufacturing and the teams that have created supportive environments where they care about one another and take true ownership of their work. They love putting the garments together and have true pride in what they do. Over 1000 people are involved in the Kapeka range and thousands of native trees and birds are saved by wearing the garments; in New Zealand, possums are an introduced species that cause destructive harm in destroying our native bush and birdlife.
She had many questions, showing her genuine interest and over a cup of tea I managed to give her an inside perspective of the New Zealand fashion industry.
How is our Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern as a model? Possible future career!?
She was such a good sport and looked fantastic in our garments on the runway. We gave her some training on how to walk and she engaged well with the audience - the photographer captured great shots of her in our range. A natural!
What was the highlight of your day?
I remember at the time thinking how great it was to have a female MP that was so approachable and genuinely interested. I was really pleased that she had taken the time to be involved in the event and from it she took away a deeper understanding of how we use natural fibres and turn them into exciting, luxurious but sustainable fashion all here in New Zealand.
Any parting comments or reflections from your day?
When seeing Jacinda in the media and the decisions she makes I think back to meeting her and the feeling of confidence comes back. I truly believe she always has the best interests of New Zealand and the people at the forefront of her mind. At the time I did think that one day she could be Prime Minister of New Zealand!
Thanks Jacinda Ardern for giving your time and support to New Zealand fashion and Kapeka!
Supporting Kapeka comes with no compromises as we offer luxury knitwear that is sustainable and ethical.
- The Kapeka Team.