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New Zealand-based label Molly Perkinsons operates entirely from a garage

WORDS BY IZZY WIGHT

“Keeping the whole operation close to home is important to me. I also want to showcase the time and energy that goes into creating a quality garment.”

New Zealand designer Lulu Jackson was experiencing a classic post-university graduation phenomenon. Returning to her home in Mount Maunganui from a stint overseas, Lulu had no job and no money. What she did have was years of experience as a garment technician and patternmaker, a family fashion legacy and a sewing machine.

So Lulu’s made-to-order label Molly Perkinsons was born, a one-woman operation run entirely out of her household garage. “It’s in my blood,” Lulu says of her affinity for fashion design. “My grandmother was quite a well-known clothing designer in New Zealand in the ’60s”. And if you’re given such a hereditary gift, it’s only right to use it in creating dreamy, silky, diamanté-embellished garments, no?


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Three years after the brand’s conception, Lulu has maintained her one-woman garage production centre. With no stock to sell through and a strictly made-to-order policy established with her customers, she says it’s “a simple operation”. A simple operation, and one dedicated to allowing her consciously-made, quality garments to shine.

Tell us about you. What’s your fashion background?

 

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My grandmother was quite a well-known clothing designer in New Zealand in the ’60s, so it’s in my blood. I started playing with textiles and sewing from a young age. I then went on to study fashion design and got my degree.

My career was always very hands-on and strongly focused on the technical side of things. I worked as a patternmaker and garment technician for some really reputable brands and learnt a lot. Now I live in Mount Maunganui, New Zealand and I run my brand Molly Perkinsons from home in my garage.

How did the label get started? Talk us through the process and the challenges.

 

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Molly Perkinsons started very organically. There was a point when I came home after a stint overseas with no job and no money but I had a craft and all the equipment I needed to execute it. I just started to make garments. Using Instagram was also integral in sharing my work with the people, and the people liked it.

All of the garments are completely made in house, to order, by me. It’s a simple operation. Having no stock to sell through means there is little pressure and I can be reactive and have fun with it. Sewing is quite hard work, physically, that’s probably the biggest challenge. I have to keep fit and healthy so I can do my work comfortably and efficiently.

What were you trying to achieve from the project at the time? How has this evolved and what are you trying to communicate through the brand now?

 

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All of the garments are completely made in house, to order, by me. I source my fabrics, trims and packaging locally where possible. Keeping the whole operation close to home is important to me. I also want to showcase the time and energy that goes into creating a quality garment.

I use my Instagram page as a platform for letting my customers peep behind the scenes. I just want the brand to be transparent and keeping it simple makes that easy. From me to my customer and not much in between!

How would you describe Molly Perkinsons’ designs to someone who’s never seen them before?

It’s fun, feminine, a bit sexy and a bit cute! I spend a lot of time looking at vintage clothing and lingerie online and that’s where I get a lot of ideas for details. I like to add extra trims like crystals, bows and diamantés. I use a lot of silk because it’s beautiful and luxurious to wear.

What are you most proud of in your work on your label?

 

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I’m proud that I have been able to make a living for myself out of my craft.

Go-to dinner party playlist?

It really isn’t dinner party appropriate but my friend @popcrimes made me this mixtape last summer which I still have on regular rotation.

Who is in your wardrobe right now?

Because I work at home I tend to dress for practicality and comfort. My garage is cold so at the moment I really just want to dress warmly. I recently bought a beautiful lightweight merino button-up from Standard Issue which is straight-up quality, the fit is great, and I totally back what they stand for as a clothing brand.

How can we buy one of your pieces?

 

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Through my web store! Because I make everything to order, I don’t have time to sample and photograph everything in all of the colourways I offer so if there’s something you can’t find, just message me and I’ll try and point you in the right direction!

Head here to browse the Molly Perkinsons collection.

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