Ngaire Lynch is an interesting woman. As well as being one of this countries best, most understated couture designers, she is an avid gym enthusiast,tailor, entrepreneur and a bit of a travel bug. You could say she has a true renaissance mentality. I caught up with the bubbly designer and she not only gave me a run down on the forgotten art of tailoring – but she actually worked her magic on something out of my very own closet, to show the importance of a well fitting piece.
Hi Ngaire, thanks for taking part in this interview, very happy to be profiling you for this piece.
1. How long have you been in business for?
I have been in business for a total of 40 years. Including four years with a business partner when I first started at Victoria Park market (Historical markets in Auckland City).
2. And you’ve worked in both London and New York? What keeps bringing you back to good, old NZ?
Family is very important to me. I lived and worked in the UK for nearly five years picking up a lot of experience and expertise in the area of tailoring. When my visa was due to expire I had news my mother had to have an operation and I was happy to return to NZ as I was very home sick and I was very young when I first started travelling. New York was an amazing experience. I returned to NZ due to a personal relationship ending.
Tell me a bit about your brand itself. The name is very unique and obviously not your actual name. What inspired it? And what are some of the unique things about Chrystal Sloane as a label?
When I was working in the UK, at that time I was very taken with how well groomed all the girls were that I worked with in different companies. There was an expression if you were a Sloane Ranger (she was the kind of woman with great taste and you could place her anywhere in the world and she would blend in). I had always thought if I had a little girl she would be a princess and the name Chrystal was the name that came to mind. When I combined the 2 words Chrystal Sloane that was the beginning of what I had dreamed of since I was 7 years old. Chrystal Sloane the brand, is for the modern woman who is looking for timeless and stylish designs using high quality fabrics that fit impeccably and make her feel fabulous.
You’re also a huge advocate for tailoring as made-to-measure designs. Why do think having something custom measured as opposed to buying pre-made from a shop, is so important?
In today’s business/corporate world, the right attire – whether it be at the office or a cocktail party – if the/color palette and garment fits you impeccably it exudes confidence and you will stand out from everyone else.
My clients always come back to me saying they were over the moon with the amount of compliments they have received and well worth spending the extra money.
3. Why do you think the general public feel the misconception that made-to-measure is out of reach to them?
I am not sure how this came about, as I recall for many years quality tailoring was always very affordable. I believe the introduction of cheaper brands changed people’s thinking over time. Currently I tailor a lot of imported labels as they just don’t fit the Kiwi figure.
4. Who are your favorite designers? And general inspirations?
One of my favorite designers is Giorgio Armani. I have followed his empire grow from when he first opened his store in London in the early seventies. I love European design for the beautiful tailoring and exquisite fabrics used. My mother was an artist and champion flower grower. I was very inspired by the amazing ray of colour and shapes in the garden all year around.
5. What do you love most about what you do? To make my clients feel special and see them look fabulous on the outside and full of confidence on the inside – whatever the occasion.
6. Lastly, I always ask everyone I interview what advice they would offer to up-and- comers. What would you suggest?
The fashion industry is a tough industry, so you have to give it your all and find your niche. I have been very lucky as I am naturally gifted with sewing and design and it is my passion in life.
Now for the exciting part (well it’s all exciting, but this is EXTRA exciting) Ngaire wanted to show how having an item which properly fits can completely transform how you look in it. This is where I come in – as you may or may not know, I am a thrifter.
I’m constantly wondering into opp-shops, and picking up stuff that I don’t know how or why but one day I will use it, re-make it or just wear it. Last summer, driving through Hamilton, my friend and I stopped at this huge Save-mart and went crazy with rummaging. I found this AMAZING, long tunic, that’s made of the most beautiful sequin fabric. A few months ago, I decided that I wanted to finally do something with it so I tried to hem it and basically made it look like shit.
AMAZING fabric, horrible fitting and jagged hemline = fits like a sack.
Now, check out what Ngaire did.
I felt so good in my new dress I had to do a photoshoot!
Check out the rest of Cool People Doing Cool Stuff – and if you think what you do is cool – get in touch Robecca@sanspareilonline.com