We spoke to Madi and Ami, creators of Dovetails, about their emerging line of ethical fashion. We love their cream Practice Shirt and we know you will too.
SP: Why fashion design?
Madi: We wanted to find a way to contribute to making our world more holistic so it had to be a commodity as sustainable as possible. We are always going to need clothing and to look and feel great. Amy and I both had been looking for a few beautiful everyday pieces that fit the bill on sustainability and price. We couldn’t find what we wanted here in NZ and thought surely someone else wants what we want, so began our launch into fashion design. Plus its doing something that I love while creating and working with Amy.
Amy: For years Madi and I would rock up to work and unknowingly be wearing similar outfits. It became a running joke between us. Our kindred style is feminine, comfortable and edgy. We knew what we wanted but were unable to find it here in New Zealand, so in usual Madi and Amy style we thought ‘we can create it!’
SP: How important were ethical practices to you?
Madi: They are at the top of the list and really are the driving force behind our label.
Amy: It’s very high on my priorities for both Dovetails and personally. With Dovetails, there has been consideration at every step of the process and making sure we demonstrate the best practice we can. This is the reason our by-line is ETHICS WITH EDGE. Through Dovetails development my knowledge of ethical practices has expanded and this has influenced my personal choices at home, as a consumer and as part of my community.
SP: What achievement are you most proud of and why?
Madi: Gosh, I think the fact that we have brought Dovetails to life. We are a couple of
girls/women/mums who love doing things together; mostly chatting over good coffee or glass of wine with our families close to home. To have started a business I wholeheartedly believe in with someone like Amy and not let it be one of those things we just talk about is a pretty sweet start.
Amy: Ever since arriving in New Zealand I have had so many wonderful opportunities to work with brilliant NZ designers and artists and I have had so much fun along the way. Now Madi and I are creating something that is just us, Dovetails is about nourishing myself, my best friend, our families and all those who want to be part of this venture. I’m pretty proud of this!
SP: What obstacles did you have overcome to be where you are today?
Madi: Hmm, that’s a tough one to pin point. I feel I have led a very lucky and privileged life. I also hold onto the somewhat naïve and whimsical belief that we can do anything we set our mind to. I have found that most things don’t pan out how we first imagine and have taken a different direction, but that is just part of the journey.
Amy: Sometimes it is the simplest things that can be the biggest obstacle. Time has been our friend and foe! Dovetails has been a long time in the making. From those first ideas and conversations to finding time in amongst everything else that we do to dedicate the time that this venture needed. We now have fixed ‘work time’ each week where we meet, plan and drink great local coffee!
SP: Why did you want a print developed?
Madi: We wanted original, beautiful and striking imagery to tell Dovetails story and set our ‘everyday ethical’ pieces apart. When we started working on our visual branding, the work of Mishfit, one of Amy’s close art school friends, resonated very strongly for both of us. Lucky for us she was keen to work with us too.
Amy: Bringing Mishfit into the mix was always in our vision. I’ve known Mish for 20 years and I love her style, so much so that I had her design my sleeve tattoo! We knew Mish would create imagery that depicted us, that had mileage with its adaptability and that was just a beautiful piece in its own right. She nailed it immediately and we love our Dovetails ladies!
SP: What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Madi: Figure out what you love to do and then figure out a way to get paid for it.
Amy: The best advice was not given to me, but shown to me by my mother: always ‘be kind’.
SP: What advice would you give aspiring eco entrepreneurs?
Madi: We are very new to this game and industry so I feel a little green to be giving advice. But I guess I would say good things take time. Find the right medium or avenue to work in and then if it takes time to really get off the ground it doesn’t feel so much like hard work and the end result will stay true to your ideals and beliefs.
Amy: Surround yourselves with like-minded thinkers and doers. Madi and I are very fortunate to have each other’s back, to bounce ideas off each other, to ask different questions and to have a joint vision on what we want to create. Although we have learnt that these visions have to have a smidgen of wiggle room, as some things don’t always go to plan!
Although more designs are in the pipeline, currently only The Practice Shirt is available in cream with or without print through the website, with pre-orders for black now being taken and due mid-December.
The ideal gift for your bestie this Christmas, show your love for friendship, family and the future at dovetails.co.nz.