Q&A: Fashion designer Caitlin Crisp

Q&A: Fashion designer Caitlin Crisp

Caitlin Crisp is an up-and-coming star of New Zealand fashion. Her timeless, easy-to-wear pieces are in trendy boutique windows around the country, and she’s dedicated to supporting local fabric and trimming suppliers. Caitlin fits What's Hot New Zealand out with the deets on studying in Christchurch, Project Runway and the evils of low-rise.

We’re keen to get to know a bit about the woman behind the designs. How would your friends describe you? Motivated, loyal and lots of fun!

Outside of fashion, what are your passions? I enjoy being outdoors and on the weekends you'll often find me sailing or on a hike with my partner. I also love a night out with the gals.

What’s your favourite story about one of your Kiwi fabric suppliers? Ooh I have a good one. I always leave my fabric scissors around the studio in silly places so they end up being used to cut paper and boxes, meaning they're always blunt when I go to use them for fabric! One of our suppliers noticed this, so for Christmas surprised me and bought me a fancy set of shears just for me, it was lovely.

That’s the kind of Kiwi spirit we love to see. How do you keep on top of custom orders and one-offs as your brand grows? It's become more challenging to find the time for custom orders over the past year as our wholesale accounts grew along with production. It's definitely something I am working towards streamlining in the near future for those special custom pieces.

What’s the story of the first garment you made? My aunty and I in Christchurch picked out a Vogue pattern from the local fabric store and she taught me how to read the pattern, cut it out and sew it step by step. It was a powder blue A-line dress that I vividly remember to this day.

What’s your design philosophy? Versatility. I aim to design versatile and wearable garments that you can wear over and over again, with a CC twist.

How did growing up in Christchurch impact your perspective on fashion? Cantabrians are typically quite conservative but this never fazed me. I was a dancer growing up so I always enjoyed getting dressed up in dance costumes which I believe ignited my creativity around clothing and fashion.

And what has the Auckland experience done for you? The people I have met and friendships I have created in Auckland truly have made such an impact in my career through an array of different opportunities and ongoing support.

Where did you study, and how did that shape your career? I studied at CPIT Fashion School, now Ara, in Christchurch. It was an incredibly hands-on course and really refined my existing pattern making and construction skills. The tutors are so inspiring, I couldn't recommend the school more highly.

What was your first big break? It would have to be Project Runway, it was an amazing opportunity. My first New Zealand Fashion Week show was definitely a highlight and really made me realise that this was my passion and what I wanted to focus on.

Project Runway and New Zealand Fashion Week are pretty massive early successes. What’s your next big goal? The goal is to continue doing what we are doing! I have such a strong team at the moment and we are all enjoying the journey. I would love to grow into Australia over 2022.

If you didn’t end up designing, what would you be doing now? Probably a pharmacist. Both my parents are.

Who’s your number one fashion inspiration? I'm loving following Leonie Hanne.

What’s the colour of 2022? It's meant to be lilac, but we are going with tangerine.

Heels or flats? Heels.

Go-to accessory? My mother's vintage fob chain and grandmother's pearl studs.

What’s a fashion trend that needs to go? Low-rise anything.



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