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Independent New Zealand Designer has a Fun Take on Sustainable Fashion

New Zealand designer Pera May’s SS20 collection invites conversation around key political topics with a light-hearted approach

On Sunday 15th September 2019, Pera May’s collection graced London Fashion Week with her bold collection turning fashion from the topic of conversation into a conversation starter.

Featured as one of seven independent designers at the Oxford Studios catwalk, Pera’s collection stood out with mixes of oceanic blue, forest green, rose pink, reminiscent of natures colour palette. Her opening piece was a long-sleeved white suit and trouser combo, with “Nothing to see here” print across the body of the suit. Blocked out with bands of blue, its square structure symbolised the strict way in which society ignors the deeper issues, a theme Pera May tackled through her collection.

She told Colèchi of her design process “I always start with something natural and organic and this time it was society and just how I think we live in an age where people don’t connect… The “Nothing To See Here” print that we had custom made came from the idea of sweeping concepts under the mat like pretending that global warming’s not happening.” It stands to reason that her denim suit was striking with its bold print in capital letters stating “Nothing to see here” in vibrant green. The words reflected the striking attitude society has towards important issues which, that when taken care of would contribute to a prosperous society.

She continues “Racism and gay rights and everything that’s going on in the world, people just ignore it and pretend it’s not happening but it’s real and it’s raw and people care, people hurt, so I think it’s really important to express what’s true and do it with a sense of humour, so it doesn’t hit people in the face, and I do it with bright colours, so it’s not serious but at least I’m still supporting something that’s true and something that’s real and trying to make people feel better.”

(Image courtesy of Oxford Fashion Studio)
Left: Pera May makes her mark in her own collection
Middle: The Pera May show opened with a striking look of bold and bright colours.
Right: Model stuns in pink Pera May jacket.

A stand-out moment of her collection was a bold pink jacket, followed by the weaving in of pink and green which complimented each other very well in the jumpsuit and dress to combo. This weaved in individuality with the sense of being at one with nature, something Pera May brought directly from New Zealand into her collection. With these bold colour combinations of blue and green, then pink and green, she was making a bold statement. Sustainability is key and is something we can not ignore.

Pera explains “I come from New Zealand which is a beautiful green, clean place, as much as it can be, so it’s really important for me to support the Earth, nature and the animals and all the things that keep this place alive… We design quite a lot of our fabrics, because we like to have something that’s quite different. I like to make sure all my fabrics are as natural as possible, so I’ve used cotton, cotton drills and silks, so that does kind of take up the price of the garment but at the same time I’m protecting the Earth. All these garments are expensive but they have a huge life cycle. They’re made with love and heart and passion. Sustainably, they’re timeless pieces.”

May’s collection proves once and for all that style does not have to cost us the Earth, disregarding synthetic polyester or acetone lining, which requires chemicals for natural silk. It also highlights all of the issues in society that we can no longer ignore. This collection is certainly cohesive in its tone and message. It is definitely one to use for your style and may generate the beginings of these important conversations.

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