Fashion designer, photographer, social media marketer, web content editor and stylist: these are some of her numerous talents. Heather Rutherford moved to the UK from New Zealand and brought a whole new creative mindset with her; this fresh womenswear designer has a rather distinct ethos that characterises her creations: European design values, can-do attitude and ‘outside-the-box’ thinking with a hint of New Zealand ingenuity.
We had the chance to have a chat with her and ask her some questions that many young designers and creative minds out there will hopefully find inspiring.
Q: I understand you didn’t always live in London. What made you move from a beautiful place such as New Zealand to the UK?
H: New Zealand is a beautiful place, but also very isolated. I love it
there and it will always be my home. It was my curiosity of the bigger
world and sense of adventure (as well as the ample opportunities
available overseas) that pushed me to leave. I don't regret it but
definitely miss New Zealand everyday.
Q: Would you consider yourself self-taught or do you think education
played a major role in what you have achieved today as a designer?
H: I studied Fashion Design for 4 years in both New Zealand and Amsterdam
which was very valuable and a right-of-passage for the industry (unless
you are of course very lucky). It's important to learn and be proficient
in the technical side of fashion design. It teaches you to be analytical
and self-critiquing which are always useful as well. But I really think
it is what you learn from the outside world, what you observe, the
connections you make, and what you bring from yourself that really make
the biggest difference. So I think both are important!
Q: Is fashion art your main way of self-expression or do you have
other creative talents?
H: I am always being inspired and trying other creative outlets and am
always launching into projects with the best of intentions. However many
of these tend to go unfinished and I find myself returning to fashion
design. I am always inspired by art and design but it seems that fashion
design is what truly seems to stick with me!
Q: What advice would you give to young designers who want to get themselves noticed by big names? How did you land yourself amazing collaborations with magazines such as the Fashion Quarterly magazine and BLACK Magazine?
H: I was very lucky to have been selected from my graduate class to be one
of the students to have my collection held in one of New Zealand's top
Fashion PR companies showrooms, called Showroom 22, for a whole season.
It was a big honour, and an even bigger surprise to have been selected.
They were amazing at getting my collection to be seen by the right
people, and were also amazing at giving me advice and feedback on
everything from pricing and how to position my work on the marketplace.
My advice to young designers just starting out (I still consider myself
to be one), is to network, make connections, and get your work in front
of as many eyes as possible. Never be complacent, it won't just happen
for you if you don't work to make it happen.
Q: For instance, how has social media helped you make a name for yourself?
H: You would have to be living under a rock to not notice the growing
impact that social media is having on the fashion world. At this point
in time this is especially true for Instagram, but in saying that you
never know how this will change in the future. It's an amazing platform
to leverage a bit of publicity for yourself. It's hard to quantify
because the results are different for everyone, but I have personally
found it to be a very indispensable tool for promoting my work.
Q: Do you have any exciting upcoming projects that you would like to
share with Selfmade?
H: Next collection, new website, new branding, new everything!