SA: How long have you been designing for and how did Zambesi evolve?
Elisabeth: I have been designing for Zambesi since its inception in 1979. Zambesi was born out of necessity from our days as retailers in the late seventies.
We were desperate for a more relevant and interesting collection for our two stores in Auckland. All this coincided with the opportunity to hire an experienced pattern maker and the availability of the perfect little boutique space hence Zambesi the label was created. From these humble beginnings we attracted some wholesale accounts, many we still supply to this day and the addition of more stores. First a move to avant-garde premises in Vulcan Lane then Wellington, Sydney and Melbourne. Two more satellite stores were added in Newmarket and Ponsonby.
About ten years ago we added Menswear collections designed by Dayne Johnston.
All this time the collections gained credibility, assuredness and a loyal following.
SA: What aesthetics do you prefer to use?
Elisabeth: I do not work to any particular aesthetics focusing more on relevance and imagination.
SA: How has New Zealand inspired you and does it play a main part when you design your collection?
Elisabeth: Living and working in New Zealand does not play an obvious part when I am designing the collection. In saying that, New Zealand and its environment gives me a great sense of freedom and opportunity which continually inspires me to be creative.
SA: Where does most of your inspiration come from?
Elisabeth: I am inspired by many things, books, film, music, travel, family and curiously from my passion for my work… but most of my inspiration comes from fabric which is always at the heart of the design process.