WIXII - A FAMILY AFFAIR
From regular pop up shop to a permanent spot in Ponsonby Central.
Its opening day and as I enter the newly fitted out Wixii clothing store I am met by Shelley Hembrow, and it turns out, the rest of the Wixii family. Muz, her husband and builder, is finessing the up-cycled kauri counter, daughter Georgia, stylist and photographer is busy taking photos, and second daughter Meila is industrious on a laptop.
The family as a unit, have been involved in the entire refit; designing, building, painting and sanding. “It’s always been like this,” says Shelley “its all hands on deck, drawing on each other’s skills!”
The Wixii fashion label is relatively young, with its workshop and creative hub based in Matakana. This, their first Auckland store, brings a bit of the countryside to the city. Large NZ native trees and plants adorn the space, the antique shop counter has a Matakana history and the quirky bits of furniture feel treasured and personal. “It’s a collection of things we like,” explains Shelley, “we gravitate to old pieces that have a time worn energy to them.” And an integral quality, I note, which seems to be the essence behind the Wixii label. From the eclectic range of vintage clothing hand picked and lovingly curated, (Shelley has been collecting since she was 14 years old), to the luxurious natural fabrics of the designed garments, it is about the quality of the original material.
“Our cashmere is made by second generation artisans in Nepal.” Shelley says as she folds the new season cashmere pants. “This attachment to the raw fibre is important to us, the whole supply chain is under the direction of the one family, who both produce the yarn and make the finished garments”.
The luxurious silks have a similar story. A family adventure to Vietnam landed Wixii the perfect business partner. “Our silk fabric is made by a small company from humble roots. The now elderly parents began making silk fabric as a young couple and now their daughter, and team of six local women are the talent behind making Wixii garments.”
Like the food industry, change is afoot in the garment industry. Customers demand provenance, they want to know who made their clothes and how. “Our philosophy is to go small and sustain care in all we do.” Shelley explains, “We are proud to be part of the slow fashion movement.” (FIONA GARLICK)