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This shoppable online portfolio is curating independent and emerging designers from Australia and New Zealand

Words by Holly Harman

Super freaky, super cool.

Homegrown in NZ, That Looks is an entirely shoppable online portfolio made up of pieces curated from different independent and emerging designers from around the world. Developed by model and graphic designer Becca Haeger in 2019, the site has small designers front of mind – it’s a platform where all forms of creativity collide to showcase quality craftsmanship. 

Different to other online retailers of the world, That Looks pulls pieces together with the option to purchase entire ‘looks’, taking the hard part out of outfit planning (finally). The current featured collection That Looks Freaky has nine looks that draw on the freaky nature of quarantine. I spoke to Becca to get a feel for what inspired the concept.

What role do you play at That Looks?

I’m the only one that works for That Looks. I started it in March 2019 and I do everything from the graphic design, to creating the website, shipping out orders, talking to brands, organising shoots and everyone involved. It’s just me. Some weeks can be a bit hectic, but I love it!

Tell me about how you came to create something like That Looks, where did the idea for it come from? 

I didn’t really have the idea all at once, it sort of just developed. It was more about seeing all these creative things and wanting to put it together which made me think, why can’t we make a community out of it? It started as a fun thing… but when I quit my job, I was sort of forced to make a business out of it. And then I did the first look which was a collection of different brands and little emerging designer’s styles, almost like a lookbook but full of everyone else’s different brands. That’s how I came to That Looks. 

That Looks releases a different ‘look’ several times a year. How does this process work and how do you define each collection?

I’ve done four different collections in the last year: That Looks Cozy, That Looks Like Home, That Looks Beachy and That Looks Freaky, the latest. I’m trying to stay away from seasons. The first collection I did was That Looks Cozy, based around knits, so we would kind of take a knit and style them and shoot with friends. I’m not actually a photographer, I would just shoot them on my phone or a point and shoot film camera. That Looks Freaky is the first one I have got a professional photographer for, who understood what I was trying to achieve and it turned out really well. I think it’s really cool to see how other people see things. 

Let’s talk about That Looks Freaky. What’s the inspiration behind this collection of looks?

I was in lockdown and I couldn’t do the next shoot I wanted to do and no one knew what was going on… just because we are home it doesn’t mean that we can’t wear what we want to wear. So it started from being stuck inside for quarantine for six to eight weeks in Auckland. When we came out of it and it was this weird phase where we’d been stuck inside and we’d go out and wear a crazy outfit. The first look we tried was just gumboots, tights, a little top and a big garden hat to say “Whatever, I’ve been in the garden I’m just going down to the beach”. 

And then we tried to add in amazing pieces from designer Erika Maish, a designer from Los Angeles… she has this incredible glass beaded dress and that was obviously very glam in comparison, so it was a way of throwing them together and saying it doesn’t matter what it is, it still goes. The looks in the past have had themes whereas this one was “anything goes”.

How do you decide on the designers you want to feature in your looks?

The first pieces I used were from my friend’s brands, but then when I started to use other designers it was more about the certain pieces I liked. I only use one or two items from each designer. I also use past items or sale items rather than what is in season or on-trend. I’ve just started a conversation on social media, and through that, I’ve found a lot of smaller designers, it’s really fun! It’s kind of like going op-shopping online, trying to find new things that haven’t been done before. Or going, ”‘I need a top” and going on a big hunt to find things and match them all together like a puzzle to create the collection I’ve got in my mind. I find it inspiring.

It’s kind of like you’re doing all the hard work for us!

That’s kind of like what I imagine when I online shop… you say “Ooh I really like those pants” but they’re just in the lookbook, so it’s about hunting out those special pieces.

Was your interest in sustainability why you started That Looks, or was it because you wanted a platform to showcase local designers?

I’ve always been a big supporter of fine local designers and turning away from fast fashion. But it was more coming from seeing my friends spend hours making clothes with prices that were higher than if you were to buy something from a fast fashion shop and people not understanding why the prices were so high. Hearing their frustration from it, it made me really want to support these brands. I wanted it to be a community and make it more of a story behind each designer. If you look at the site, each designer has a profile, it gives an idea why they made the product, how they made it and with what materials. I think that encourages you to spend the money, keep it in your wardrobe forever and recycle it. I think it’s especially important to stay away from seasons, that’s why I like selling sale items and old items back on. 

So you think it’s more about celebrating smaller designers and the craftsmanship rather than what’s on-trend right now?

Exactly, when you buy something it should be about how it makes you feel, not because it’s ‘cool’. It’s nice to know my best friend spent three days knitting my favourite jumper and I’m going to have that forever – it makes it cooler because it’s special. 

What’s coming next for That Looks?

I was going to release a different collection, but with Auckland going into another lockdown, it really threw everything. I have decided to do another drop of the Freaky collection. It will be along the same sort of styling, instead of a completely new collection because we are still in that freaky phase. Hopefully, by the end of September, I’ll have drop two of Freaky out. With everything that is going on, it’s better to change the collection while the world is changing. Moving forward, I’d like to bring back a print element into it. It’s like an online portfolio of my work as we also offer styling, graphic design, social media management, content creation for other brands which has been quite cool and another creative outlet that we’re developing.

Explore the ‘That Looks Freaky’ collection here.

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