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Twenty-seven names

twenty-seven names

In 2012 we created a “cat cameo” silk print. It was an amazing hit and became an iconic twenty-seven names thing. It speaks to Professor Umbridge’s office in Harry Potter, where her walls were decorated with plates featuring cats. It goes back to the idea of having a little humour in our range.

Meet the Designer Part 1: twenty-seven names’ Anjali Burnett and Rachel Easting

Meet the Designer Part 2: twenty-seven names’ Anjali Burnett and Rachel Easting on being Great Full

On the beginning…

We were introduced to each other in primary school, hung out through high school and studied together at university in Dunedin. Rachel went to Art School and I studied fashion, and when we were studying, we started to make tops for ourselves, and friends asked us to make some for them. After university, we pretty much went straight into it. I think when you’re that young you don’t realise what you’re getting into. We weren’t looking for a five-year plan or anything like that, but we had a gung-ho attitude. It was 2006 and it was a great time to start a business.

Rachel, on the name:

When deciding on our name we wanted something that had meaning to us. In the process, we came up with a list of all the people who had helped us – such as our parents and our friends and our family – and it was 27 names.

On design:

Rachel: It’s really intrinsic and just what naturally happens when we work together. Fashion changes, our ideas change but I think we always have an element of humour and we try not to be overly serious about it. 

Anjali: We want to make things that are beautiful, that people feel comfortable in, and that are made here in New Zealand.  We love colour, mixing colours together, and making pieces that you can mix together.

Anjali, on fashion considerations:

We make everything in New Zealand, completely. And we take the responsibility of sustainability very seriously. We are always striving to do as best as we can with a particular fabric, or a particular button. Every stage of the process, and all the trims, are very thought out.

Rachel, how things have changed:

In the beginning we used one computer, which was my boyfriends, in the living room. Everything we did was by phone call or fax. It was exciting to go online and the impetus to start our own retail line. And globally, so much has changed. We’ve had a huge influx of big fast fashion brands. They come and go,and are very different from what we do. For us, being New Zealand made, we make a small amount of goods, to order. We don’t make things that are going to go to waste, later on.

Anjali, on community:

It’s friends, it’s family, it’s food. It’s coffee! We’re so lucky – especially in Wellington – we’re on the best street in town. The coffee is downstairs and that’s something I’m grateful for – because I really need that! And the people we work with. There are long relationships that are vital to the brand and important to us personally.

Rachel, on inspirations:

Movies, books and podcasts – these are all things that give us ideas. I find you can put a lot into a collection and then once it’s finished you have to start another one, but instead of feeling that you have to do something completely different you can segue into something from the themes you’ve already been working with.

On being grateful in three words…

Rachel: Community, family and friendship

Anjali: And coffee.

On collaborating with Great Full:

Rachel: Health. The beginning of everyone’s lives start there and we all need to have as much access to amazing healthcare along with professionals on tap as we possibly can. So contributing to Great Full’s project is one of the most important things that we can do. 

Anjali: If there’s anything that we can do, there’s no question for us – it’s a hard yes.