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5 Minutes with Natasha Ovely of Starving Artists Fund

Starving Artist Fund

1) Who are you and what do you do?

I’m the founder and fashion designer of the label Starving Artists Fund. My role requires me to wear many different hats, which is just the way I like it!

2) You have a very interesting (and international) background! Growing up and travelling around Asia, the Middle East and Europe and then settling in NZ must have given you an incredibly unique perspective. How do you think your design style is different to someone born and bred in NZ?

Starving Artist Fund

I’ve never known what it is like to belong to one place. I repeatedly entered new cultures as an outsider and I realise now, how much that perspective influences my work. The way people dressed told a story about their society and its norms; it helped me understand what I was getting into. I like to design clothing that doesn’t instantly fit into one particular context. A lot like my background, I suppose.

Tell us a little bit about your background in sculpture and how it influences your pieces?

As a student at Elam (Auckland University Fine Arts), I worked with large-scale sculptures and installations using materials ranging from black steel and wood to resin-encased chiffon and hot glue. I always allowed the material to dictate what it wanted to do and how far I could push it- just as I do with fabric. Its pretty incredible what a piece of fabric can evolve into, I’m still in awe of it. 

 What designers (or anyone else) inspire you and your creative process?

Kerby Jean-Raymond of Pyer Moss and A Sai Ta of Asai are two contemporary designers that I hugely admire. The work of stylist Ibrahim Kamara is also a major source of inspiration for me. I think they explore cultural displacement through their work beautifully and initiate social dialogue, which is something I aspire to.

 Love that your clothing is so inclusive! (gender neutral and up to size 22!)  What made you want to do this? Any personal experiences in there?

Thank you! I think we should be well past the point of viewing inclusivity as a radical idea. As a person of colour, I know what the lack of representation can do to an already complex identity struggle. To me, it is simply a reflection of reality- the LGBTQIA+ community exists, people of all shapes and races exist, the freedom to represent yourself regardless of the gender/social norm exists. The cookie cutter thing is antiquated and frankly, boring. It is time to celebrate what makes us diverse!


Where can we buy your clothing?

Selected pieces from ‘Future Plans’ will be available for purchase through our online shop from the 7th of December onwards. Additionally, we’ll have our very own Pop-Up shop in Ponsonby Central, from the 25th of February to the 10th of March 2019. 

 What do you have coming up for the brand? 

I’m currently working on a capsule collection ‘Camel Light’, which will be available for pre-order at the Pop-up shop. There are also a few exciting collaborations coming up which I would like to keep a surprise! Watch this space.



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