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Five Minutes With Jacob Coutie

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This week we thought we’d shake it up with a ‘Thing’s we’re Lovin’/ ‘Five Minutes With’ hybrid. Kiwi designer Jacob Coutie launched J’akehis own line of menswear, on the 28th of March in an amazing Auckland show. We talk to him about his roots, inspirations, experiences in the industry, and plans for the future.

Tell us a little about your background. Where did you grow up and how did fashion impact your early years?

Mate, I’m from Waikato. That goes the same with my entire whanau. I grew up attending a rural primary school and I think it was then I started growing interested in personal style and fashion. I didn’t get into design probably until high school where I would be sketching and designing random collections.

Who or what are some of the primary influences on your designs?
My references can vary from collection. I’m always inspired by military/work wear. My connection with the environment has always been an influence. Aotearoa is filled with such interesting people from all walks of life which has always been the front of my mind with garments I make.


You showed at Auckland Fashion week 2017, what was that experience like?

FANTASTIC experience, that collection “Toa” was one of my favourite bodies of work I’ve done. Had a incredible opportunity showing with Miromoda! I was lucky to be more adventurous in my design there compared to now where I’ve had to think more commercially.

You recently showed your new collection in your own show on Auckland, can you give us the behind the scenes scoop?

To be honest, I had to be super organised and had everything prepared so there wasn’t any mishaps of any kind. All the models were incredibly supportive (shout out to Jack for flying up from Wellington) I think the biggest success of that launch was having the right crowd. A beautiful mix of whanau/friends and industry attendees.

What have been some of the highlights of your career?
Well my career has just started, I’ll let you know in a few years. I’m grateful for all the support and love I’ve received. There’s a LOT of highs and lows leading up to the launch of my label and has been real tough just fighting my way to get to be taken seriously as a young designer. The biggest highlight is to have control of how my label runs.

Is there anything you would have done differently?

Oh absolutely! But as a designer, I’ve learnt how to be more decisive. There’s a LOT of trial and error within the first months of starting your own label.
Where would you like to be in 10 years time?

I’ll be continuing designing. I would have loved to have a number of collaborations under my belt by then. Working with other designers/makers or creatives on new projects.

If you could give someone just starting their design career one top tip, what would it be?
LISTEN TO YOUR GUT. I got so MUCH advise during the start up of my label. Probably too much and from not always the right people.
I believe is no “right” way as every designer approaches their work differently.
However, that being said I think it’s crucial to establish your ethos (whatever it may be) as that will be the guide to how you operate your label/business.

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