Letters from home

Nicky Zimmermann

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Wednesday 8 April. Sydney, Australia.

I hope everyone is doing well and staying safe at home. It’s obviously been a challenging week for all. The terrible news of casualties continues to cause so much heartbreak. As someone who has spent a lot of time working in New York over many years, a place that is like a home away from home to us, I have found the situation there particularly upsetting and to our Zim team in the city, and to our friends who are doing it tough, we are thinking of you.

Like many of you, I feel a bit helpless at the moment. But I also have a job to do and to be honest I find my work to be a great escape from all that is going on. In that sense, it’s been an ok week for getting things done with our team. We’re just getting into the swing of designing a collection from home each day - now there’s something I never thought I’d have to do!

As everyone has come to know, it can be pretty funny working from home – it certainly isn’t like my usual routine in the studio. I’m not the best with technology (as anyone who knows me can attest!) so most days there’s one thing or another I stuff up. Today in a meeting over Teams, whenever I spoke apparently my voice bellows so loud (apparently I sound like I’m yelling in a submarine) that no one else could hear anything. Nothing another call to the poor IT boys won’t fix! I love being able to see my kids during the day and have lunch with them or sneak in a quick game of ping pong with my 16 year old son between meetings! We have a pet rabbit called Bananas who roams in and out of the house and now that I’m at home he likes to come into my office all the time and see what I’m working on. He’s eaten a pair of earphones today when I wasn’t looking. Our house is quite bright and colourful (unsurprisingly?) and it has a really happy vibe for me – be it the artwork or our furniture and other bits and pieces. I’ve seen little colour combinations around the house that have given me ideas that we can include in collections in one way or another. You always find inspiration wherever you are I guess.

At the moment, we are at the very early stages of working on our Spring 21 Ready-to-Wear Collection. It is a season that we would usually show in February, which at the moment feels like a lifetime away. There’s so much uncertainty around everything and that is obviously no different when it comes to the fashion calendar. At the moment no one really knows when we will be able to travel again, if the show schedules around the world will go ahead in the coming seasons – it’s all up in the air. But I’ve said to the team that we can’t think too much about that sort of stuff and we just need to focus on what we can control and that is the detail and creativity of our collection. If we can't show it, then so be it - it might not be a bad thing and it may lead to more inspiring ways of doing things. We just need to think creatively about it and bring our collection to life with the same energy and attention that we otherwise would.

Anyway back to the collection. We have been working to build on my initial idea for the season (which has to be kept secret!). Our process usually starts with something fairly simple – I’ll have a feeling or a mood or a single inspiration that sets us on a path. We then build out that theme with research – we’ll pull photos, art, fabric swatches - or whatever really - to create a mood board and that becomes our north star so to speak when it comes to creating the season.

The good bit is when everyone in the team is on board with the theme. That moment when everyone has a really nice connection to it and the conversation and ideas start flowing. We’ve got that now, which I always find one of the most fun times to work in a season.

 With a long weekend almost here, I’m looking forward to taking some time out. I’ll be at home - but that’s ok by me. See you soon.

x Nicky

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