Letters from home

Nicky Zimmermann


Friday 17 April. Sydney, Australia.

Another week working from home, done and dusted. Sleep, exercise, work, work, work, eat, cheeky drink - repeat! Now for another weekend in exactly the same place! I hope everyone is doing well.

I still can’t believe the circumstances that the world is facing - the tragedy of it for so many people is never far away from my thoughts. I’m glued each evening to the stories on the television (except when I’m distracted by those dreadful virus graphics they always seem to have spinning in the background of the newsreader!) as I try to catch up on what is happening around the world. Like everyone, I find it hard to fathom the magnitude of this crisis. Too many people impacted, too many families left to grieve.

But I don’t want to reflect on it too much here - I’ve been asked to create A Small Escape and a little insight into what is going on in my work life and at Zimmermann! I must stay on track!

The reality of trying to create a full Spring Collection with the team, while we’re stuck at home, is starting to set in. It’s really not that easy. Everything just takes so much longer and decisions that we can usually make in seconds with everyone in the room now require more patience. We are still making progress and I love what we are working on, but it’s just a challenge to keep it on track. There’s so much trust, and reliance on the skills of each member of the team, to make sure each element is right and that we are communicating all the time.

Sometimes people ask me about what I actually do day to day. And it’s not always what they think. For me, creating a collection is a very hands-on process and very collaborative at the same time. Setting and maintaining an overall direction for the season is at the core of my creative role. From that point, our season is built step by step with that theme at the centre of everything.

I still love to get my hands dirty - I’m a naturally crafty person and I like to make things - it’s how I’ve always been. But we rely on everyone in the design room to bring their own unique skills and perspective to the detail and the process, so we can create a collection that we all love at the end.

So, on one hand I can be talking to an artist or designer in our team about the sort of print we want, making adjustments to colour and to scale and getting into the nitty gritty of the detail. I can sketch a few looks or details when I want to express an idea to others (I’m an ok drawer but not like some of the amazing fashion illustrators in my team).

At the same time, I can give the senior designers a brief on what we want in a section of our show and they bring their ideas to the table. My role is to give a steer and then to become a filter for what feels right and which ideas we want to explore further. Do we love it? Is the detail special enough, does it create an emotional response for us and will it for others? It’s a never-ending conversation that we have within the team every day. We challenge the work that has been created, at whatever stage it’s at, and decide by consensus if we are prepared to make it as good as it can be and then ultimately show it and put it into the world. It's also a balancing act with every garment. We are asking ourselves if the look is consistent with the vision for the season and does it push the boundaries creatively? Most importantly, does it work for our woman - she is always at the centre of it after all. Will she come with us as we look to evolve our collections and bring something new to her next season? Everything we work on is unique in some way but against a backdrop of repetition in our process. It is a bit like day to day life at the moment I guess - the big difference is it’s much more fun and what we love to do… We create, discuss, adjust. Create, discuss, adjust – repeat…

x Nicky