Friday, December 21, 2012

A Conversation: with Georgia Pratt

If you're in for a good read, grab a cup of coffee and sit down with the first post in this new series. Conversations with talented, inspiring and intriguing peers. First up is designer, model and very good friend of mine Georgia Pratt.

Emma: So the Glassons shoot [that went live the other morning] looked good. Are you happy with it?
Georgia: Yeah! Especially as that’s the first bit of modelling I’ve done this year since my contract ended. And I like that we kinda just did it…one afternoon.
E: That’s the first bit of editorial you’ve done right? Because you’ve done campaign before?
G: Yeah basically I was previously just doing campaign and lookbook stuff but this is probably the first editorial I have done and the first time I have worked with a mainstream brand. 
E: The fact that it was for Glassons, which is such a mainstream brand. It just looked really good. I’m really happy with it.
G: Yeah I think clean and simple will always work and still look interesting.
 E: So clean. And the fact that it was a plus [subject] wasn’t really an issue.

G: Yeah and the feedback I have had was more about the actual appeal of the shoot as a whole, and even more so about how they now want to go and buy the clothes! Which of course is what the intention is in the first place…But yeah, size shouldn’t really matter anyway or be a focus point, it’s predominantly about what you are presenting and the ideas you are trying to evoke. If it works and is appropriate, then the subject matter won’t be questioned. 
E: Yeah it was about how amazing you and the clothes looked, not specifically about showing someone who wasn’t a standard model size.
G: Yeah absolutely… And I think it’s relatable. Especially to our generation of women… Or any women!! And it’s interesting to switch it up, especially for this type of brand, the demographic is meant to be broad so why not present in that way. 

E: I agree, and we approached it with a slightly older aesthetic – although I can still see a seventeen year old wearing that long black dress or a thirty year old. But I mean, you know, we are in our early twenties and don’t have that much money.
G: I know! Got to be smart with your pennies in your twenties…. Especially when it comes to clothes… 
E: So it was good to show that you can look good at an affordable price.
G: And just show a different way that it can look. 
E: Exactly, it’s not just young and cute all the time, because that’s not for everyone.
G: You can’t be cute all the time. 
E: Haha.
G: Cute is weird. Especially for an adult. If I lean towards anything remotely ‘cute’ I look very odd…like a giant small child. 
E: Haha. But you don’t have to look cute! You know, you’d rather look striking and elegant. Yeah you don’t need to look cute. Are you hoping it [the shoot with Glassons] will have some kind of impact? Or what are you hoping it will say to people?
G: I think it would be cool for some of the older Glassons demographic to come back. Because I think for a while the Glassons image has been quite young. So it was cool to reference back to the idea of it being for everyone. 

Georgia for Glassons, shot by Frances Carter

E: Yeah exactly. And having product that transcends age or what your are necessarily doing in life. So that was exciting. And speaking of modelling, you’re off to New York?
G: Yes I am! 
E: Yeah! Yay with Ford. So how did that happen?
G: Well, I was modelling for a NZ brand while I was at uni and though I took it seriously as a job I didn’t really think much of it beyond that because at the time it was a tool to pay my fees and support my education. There were a few industry people who suggested I could it as a career overseas but I was always hesitant and didn’t think it was something I wanted to pursue in terms of a ‘career’, especially because I had my head so zoned in on my design degree. Hah. 
E: Especially here the scope is so much smaller.
G: So small it’s practically not there! And I never thought of it as a career job. So I contacted a couple of people overseas and though well, if I’m going to do it… 
E: You might was well do it properly.
G: Yeah well I might as well do it overseas. And so over time I did my research, contacted different people and emailed some agencies. Ford NYC was one of the first agencies I approached and they basically offered me a contract from my first polaroids and a Skype meeting. It was quite bizarre, but also super amazing. 
E: That’s amazing, And so rare.
G: Yeah! They are all a really lovely bunch of people and have been really supportive. Which is so important. 
E: It’s awesome that there’s so much support.
G: So much support. I have been inspired by everyone’s enthusiasm towards the whole thing. Everyone seems really into it and really excited about it, it’s nice to know you have people rooting for you. And there’s really exciting things happening overseas in that area. 
E: Well the fact that Ford set aside a whole division for plus size is amazing.
G: Yeah, there’s lots of exciting stuff happening with girls on their board. Shape and curves is something people want to see! I also think it will be a cool thing to be apart of, especially coming from New Zealand, it will be great to see more of that here. There must be heaps of beautiful girls swanning around waiting to be snapped up! 
E: Yeah totally and we’ve seen that people are showing interest – like with Glassons wanting to do something with you. And just showing that it doesn’t necessarily have to be commercial or an older market. At the end of the day fashion is about beautiful people and good clothes, whatever size that is.
G: That’s what’s cool, that kind of idea of beauty and what people want to see is changing. And people get excited when they see something different. 
E: And it actually looks fresh.
G: Yeah definitely. 
E: You see the same skinny seventeen year old girls over and over again and it gets repetitive. Then when you see something that is different and fresh it has such an impact.
G: Yeah and I think New Zealanders are quite into that, they take on diversity well. 
E: I think they are quite open minded. More than they’re given credit for.
G: Agreed.

Maeve from N Model Management wearing a look from Georgia's Arrange Collective capsule.

 E: Yeah tell me a bit more about your design work. I mean obviously I know it quite well because I’ve studied with you and we worked on various things like the Arrange Collective show at Flagship which was amazing.
G: That was amazing. We’re already thinking about what to do next. 
E: Yeah. So what do you try and say through your design work?
G: Over time there have been many sources of influence and inspiration but on a basic level I’m just really attracted to clothes that have a simplistic intension and practical wearability. If I’m uncomfortable then I’m not happy. Just really beautiful fabrics and a beautiful fit. I’m into pattern cutting, so I’ve always been quite drawn to different methods of drape and cutting. A lot of my main design and detail influences come from past eras. For a while now I have been really interested in historic loungewear and minimalistic details. Which is essentially what I presented at the arrange show. 
E: Yeah lounge wear from an older time.
G: Totally. So amazing when you get into it. Particularly Artists. Friedrich Hundertwasser and Frida Kahlo were two that I studied closely among others…their clothing in particular were the pieces I kept going back to. 
E: Your collection was quite dramatic but also quite comforting and simple.
G: Yeah, comfort is a big deal! Haha. And I played a lot on silhouette – that’s been my thing ever since I started my design process. Refining and pushing my silhouette more and more each time, and obviously experimenting with it on different bodies. 
E: That was really interesting, as part of the whole process, seeing it on smaller models, seeing it on someone like Lani who’s so statuesque at about 6”1. And then seeing it on you or Jess Grubisa. It was amazing how it transcended everything.
G: And finding ways of making things more universal and accessible. So there are lots of one size pieces. 
E: It’s amazing to see how each piece looks different on each person. Like it’s not so much about “oh does this fit right” it’s more “how does this look on me” which is a really interesting concept.
G: Yeah for sure! It already takes away so much stress of the garment before you have even put it on. I think working with someone like Kristine Crabb, has really nurtured this part of my work. A great part of her philosophy is about drape and overall shape and not so much about fitting to one body and a specific size. 
E: And the piece kind of changes to each person.
G: It does and it doesn’t. That’s the beauty of it. Many of my pieces were created from that one idea and making it broad enough so that there weren’t really restrictions on who could wear them. But also pieces that are quite wearable I feel. 
E: Because at the end of the day things need to be practical. They can’t sit in your wardrobe not going anywhere.
G: And silk garments can be practical. 
E: Half my wardrobe is silk! It can be warm and it can be cool. And it’s just nice to wear natural fibres. And you don’t always have to wear super practical cotton twills and things like that.
G: Yeah definitely. And I think once you find garments that fit you or make you feel really amazing then you don’t want to wear anything else. 
E: Exactly. That’s what they should all do. You need to feel amazing. And that’s like with Kristine Crabb’s work, you go into store and put a dress on and it changes the way you feel about yourself. You feel like a woman and you feel sensual and confident. I’d never felt like that in my life before, and they I started buying her dresses and it was an absolute revelation.
G: Inspiring aye. 
E: And you felt like an adult like you didn’t have to put on something short and tight and uncomfortable to feel sexy. Instead you put on this loose draped silk and you feel amazing.
G: It’s definitely a one of a kind feeling… Kristine sure knows how to make dresses!! 

Kate from N Model Management at a pre show fitting for Arrange Collective in another of Georgia's looks.

E: You guys have quite a similar work process don’t you?
G: Yeah I think our creative process is quite similar. Although our aesthetics different, they still align on certain levels. Creatively I think we are on the same page, which is so inspiring. It keeps things exciting because you are constantly challenging eachother but bouncing off eachothers buzz. And she’s such a nurturing, wonderous person…it is easy to fall in love with what she has done and the amazing people she surrounds herself with. I’m so sad I am going to be leaving, the Miss Crabb family is like no other… Some of my range is actually going into production at the moment. Some of my favourite pieces from the Arrange collection will be in store at Miss Crabb for winter just before I leave. 
E: And are they going to be in slightly different fabrics to what you showed at our presentation?
G: Yeah some wools and heavier silks for winter. 
E: that will be interesting to see how the change in the textile affects the garments.
G: Uh huh. I’m quite excited to produce it. And there’s a new piece in there that didn’t make the collection, a dress. But basically I’ve done five styles. 
E: You’re doing the wrap skirts right?
G: Yep there are two styles of skirts, and a big kimono coat in wool, and the backless lace up silk t-shirt. 
E: I think that was one of my favourite pieces.
G: Ohh yeah me too…. 
E: Keep it small and concise.
G: And all the colours I’ve chosen are pretty neutral, but still interesting. These are my basic pieces… Which will contrast nicely with the colourful Miss Crabb and Penny Sage winter collections. 
E: Yeah you, Kristine and Penny Sage I feel all have a similar ethos.
G: Penny Sage is amazing. She’s done some insane knitwear. 
E: That knitwear is out of control.
G: Everyone has got to try it on. 
E: I couldn’t believe it when I tried it on. You know, a skinny ribbed little grey dress strikes fear into your heart but you put it on and you just go oh wow.
G: Good knitwear is hard to find! 
E: And it’s kind of nice to go back to the figure hugging stuff, that’s made well. I feel like I’m always so scared of it.
G: Who isn’t! 
E: And going back to that Glassons shoot, a lot of that stuff was quite figure hugging and it looked amazing! Like you don’t have to wear loose things all the time regardless of your size.
G: Yeah and I think it’s about educating people on how to wear stuff rather than just what to wear. 
E: And it’s about having that confidence. And posture to carry it off.
G: Especially when dressing shapely bods. 
E: And being comfortable in what you’re wearing comes across.
G: Definitely. And I think it does take a while to get there. But when you do, everything is so much easier. 
E: I think it’s part of getting older as well. I feel a lot more comfortable these days than I used to.
G: Yeah for sure. And once you are aware of what you’re comfortable in, as long as you’re comfortable you’ll look good. 
E: And it’s just about investing in pieces that make you feel good.
G: Yes! I think part of it for me is, I don’t actually shop. Which sounds strange coming from someone who designs clothes but I don’t actually go out and shop for clothes. My wardrobe is made up of a lot of older pieces either from opshops or that have been given to me. But I feel the shape of them is more current to me now than something I’d find in a store. Also a lot of Miss Crabb and my own pieces. 
E: Yeah I don’t really shop. I’ll buy stuff, but I know what I want and I know where I can go to get it. I never really browse. There’s a very small handful of stores and people I regularly visit to get things. Like Kristine for some dresses, Sherie Muijs for shirting, knitwear from Karen Walker things like that.
G: Yeah, and the pieces I have collected – my wardrobe is pretty small but it’s pretty specific. Everything in my wardrobe I wear and I own for a reason. And of course I have pieces I’ve collected for archives sake. 

E: I always feel like I need to do a wardrobe cull, but at the same time I’ll find myself coming back to something I haven’t worn in years and I’ll pull it out and remember why I loved it in the first place.
G: Yeah definitely. You have those moments and they are amazing. 
E: Or your mum pulls something out from a cupboard and you think “where did this come from!”
G: Totally. That’s happened to me a few times. And you go “yoink”. 
E: Yeah because you have quite a few of your mothers things don’t you?
G: Yep I have quite a few pieces of my mums clothes, from different eras. Mainly the 90’s though. Best shapes. 
E: Has she influenced your style a lot do you think?
G: I think probably because we are a similar height and body shape. Almost Identical actually. So yeah I think my mother has a bit to play in my style, especially when I first became interested in clothes. 
E: It’s funny how if you have parents who dress well or have a certain style that’s their own, you do kind of go back to that yourself. They’ve always worn the same kind of thing for years – nice shirts, cashmere jumpers. Just good quality things that haven’t really dated or aged. So my mum has some things that are as old as I am (or older) and she’s still wearing them.
G: Just awesome shapes aye. 
E: Yeah, and my dad has dressed the same way forever. Blue shirts, R. M. Williams boots. And you find yourself [as their child] coming back to that. And there’s something about the consistency which I think is really important [and so formative] .
G: And also once you do have those things (like my R. M. Williams boots that I wear every single day).
E: I have them too. They are so great.
G: They are amazing. I want many pairs! 
E: They’re what my dad has worn for at least as long as I’ve been alive, which is twenty four years, and he buys a new pair every few years. And doesn’t wear anything else.
G: It’s so great. And also because I have fairly large feet. Not so great for a girl. 

E: Where do you buy your shoes? So you’re a 42?
G: Yeah 42. It’s the pitts. Um so mostly sneakers and mens boots. Haha not ideal if you want to dress ‘cute’ haha.
E: You have those great Supergas don’t you?
G: Yes I have those sandshoes. And one pair of heels that I salvaged from some place in Australia. I don’t even know who they are by. But I should find a new pair. It’s a bit of a struggle. I have found Dieppa Restreppo’s size 11 to be great. 
E: Yeah I’m so jealous of that. My feet are just a size or two too small for mens footwear. And it’s the bane of my life.
G: If you can find a unisex shoe it’s always good. 
E: And they are usually the most classic as well. It’s not going to date and it will generally be of good quality. You’ll just have to get your shoes handmade in Europe. You’ll be travelling the world, you’ll find something surely!
G: Hopefully! Bad shoes are baaaaaddddd. Pet peeve. 
E: Shoes ruin an outfit basically.
G: They can. 
E: They’re make or break. Especially when it comes to men as well. You can judge a man a lot by his shoes.
G: Sadly true. 
E: Dealbreaker. Or bad sneakers.
G: Just don’t look down? 
E: ALWAYS look down.
G: Terrible.

E: So what are your plans for summer? Just getting ready for New York?
G: Yep. Spending lots of time with the fam and pals. Eating yum food and drinking lots of cider.. Getting my stuff ready to put in Miss Crabb. Hopefully spend some time on my Dad’s boat. Get some sun on my poor bod! And then I’ll be going over to join the other half of our Arrange collective. Which I’m excited for!! 
E: Yeah over half of the collective will be gone! It’s just me and Duncan left. Jack and Glen are already there, and you’re joining them. It’s going to be an exciting year!
G: It will be an exciting year for all of us. New adventures. Lots of new exciting stuff happening. And hopefully some new collaborations!


  1. Such a good interview - all the best Georgia for your travels.

  2. how many brands sponsored this interview?

    1. None. Georgie works in the Miss Crabb workroom and we are both huge fans of Kristines work. And we recently worked together on a shoot for Glassons. This is simply a transcribed conversation we had over coffee about work we have done recently and our thoughts on clothes and things like that.