Westfield Presents: Inspiration by Zimmermann

Welcome to Pedestrian’s four part exploration of the ever evolving fashion retail landscape. In part one of the series we were lucky enough to sit down with Nicky Zimmermann, founder and head designer of Sydney label Zimmermann, to discuss Australia’s changing street style culture, Summer trends and the secret to running a successful label.

Who is the Zimmermann girl? Who we take as our core girl as someone who likes things that have a point of view. I mean we do a lot of prints so she’s a confident girl that does want something that’s a bit more individual. A girl that’s interested in fashion obviously and inevitably our girl’s usually pretty hot (laughs). Really when we do a collection it is about a girl that appreciates something with a point of view and not after a churned out garment. It’s someone who genuinely appreciates the time and effort we put into each garment.

Where do you draw inspiration from? In general the inspiration comes from print. It’s also very much about an idea I want to execute but that basically comes from print so in our Summer collection for example, we had a really strong idea that we wanted to do with print and as we continued to work on it the direction and the silhouette came after. So for us it’s very much about print and colour and that is literally how I start every ready to wear collection. It’s also how I start each swimwear collection as well. In a way print provides the basis for the collection and then with silhouette we’re kind of intent on doing something different from the season before. So the collections have a similar thread in that the main focus is print and colour but for us it’s very much about moving the collection forward. So silhouette comes off the back of that. We’re allowed to be pretty creative and have fun in here because we have other set things like little silk dresses we do that enable us to balance the more creative pieces.

What do you see as the key trends over Summer? As with most trends, they kind of edge their way in two seasons before they really hit but I think we’re going to see a lot of print pants. People are going to be unafraid to wear a print on a pant which we have been doing for a while but I think we’ve really pushed that look with this collection. Also the same thing with a print jacket so I think those kind of pieces are going to edge their way into the space where girls used to buy dresses. And I think that’s really cool that something can be a great item to wear out and it’s not a dress (laughs).

Like a statement jacket or something like that. Yeah, yeah, exactly. For Summer we did a jacket that had a giant, antique-y rose print on it and it was one of our best sellers of the season. And if we did that the season before people would have been like “what the hell?” but it just edges its way in and you try and do it without any fear and it’s more interesting. I mean, if it’s the right print and the right silhouette then it works really well. And I think it’s a good thing if girls can make their wardrobe more interesting by wearing great items that aren’t just a little dress.

I guess that segues into my next question which is how have you seen Australian fashion change over the last few years? It’s a really great question because for us it’s been literally twenty years that we’ve been doing this and the massive difference with what Australian women wear now to what they wore twenty years ago is incredible. And it’s completely because of the internet and the immediacy of fashion knowledge and the level of interest in fashion is so much more. I just think that Australian women are so much more stylish than ever before and more interested in fashion. The difference for us is that freedom to do more interesting things because it’s more easily accepted.

How do you balance those commercial aspects like creating an accessible collection that will sell against the creative freedom to do the zanier things? In all honesty it has to be a balance and no matter what, the little silk dress that we do, we’re going to sell hundreds of them every season. And part of that is because of all the different functions that girls can wear that at to their school formal, to their 21st, to the races. They’re all about little dresses so there’s a massive push at particular functions to wear those garments. Everybody has to have a mainstay of what they do – it’s a massive part of our business, those dresses but I have to say that it’s great to be able to punctuate the rest of the collection with things where we can really have a go and see if it’s going to sell. I think it makes all the other stuff more interesting as well. For me it’s all about balance even for the more commercial garments that we do – you can’t rest on your laurels. Those items have to keep getting better, better quality, better design, better colours because there’s so much competition out there.


Title Image Provided by Zimmerman