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NZ's Common Magazine has launched...


The very first of Common magazine is out and it smells good. 120 pages of New Zealand design, art, literature, interviews and food. And Jamie McLellan looking a teeny bit sexy on the cover. $18 from Simon James design, Crane Brothers or online here.

New Yeah, Rad Calendar

Right before Christmas we launched Design Yeah, a huge wall calendar (featuring 12 prints from 12 of New Zealand's most awesome designers.

As well as being a 2013 calendar, each month's print is perforated so you can pull away the print, and you're left with an A3-size limited edition print to frame! 

See more and buy one online at the Design Yeah website.

(This is Sarah McNeil's print and the image is from her blog)

Elver's all class


Do we need another hipster rucksack brand? Ahhh, yeah we do. Especially one designed and made in New Zealand. Elver (great name) has launched with a collection of products that are all class, featuring yummy details like leather and suede panelling and trim, traditional metal domes, buckles, and clasps, and even lambs wool. 

Some Fancy Spaces...

Let's have a look at some spaces with prints on the walls, shall we? OK. 

9 kinds of wonderful

I think I'm going to buy that Apple Papple poster. Want me to get one for you while I'm at it?

Black white and awesome. And high fives for the longer-than-usual striped cushion.
(But is that a giant puzzle piece I spy behind the gold lamp? You ruined it, puzzle piece. Go home.) 

Hey guys, I love that rugimages via
Temporary gallery wall with washi tape.

If I was a bouncer I'd let in the sofa, the light, and the pink wall. But I'd have to tell those hanging prints that it's a private function, sorry, and we're full. via

Kind Graphic


I spotted young designer Jonti Griffin's through the NZ Best Awards, and have been meaning to post some more of his work for ages. My fave is his own design identity, Kind Graphic (check the GIF - I love me a good GIF). One to watch, I reckon.

New NZ design collective, YOURS


Even before the ink was dry on their degrees, Sam Griffin, James McNab and Daniel Kamp had decided they were going to go in to business for themselves - designing their own products, together.

Through the three years of their design degree, they became not only good mates, but also fans of each other's work. They pushed one another's design, collaborating together to develop ideas and resolve forms. Both Daniel and James were nominated for 2012 Best Awards, James for his Revival Vest (which went on to win a placing at the international James Dyson awards), and Daniel for his intelligent gloves for prosthetic arms.

After graduating, Sam and James started work tutoring at their alma mater Vic Uni, while Daniel began a role in product development at Design Mobel. But the plans for YOURS design collective were in motion. They started developing their first products, and made a deal that as soon as they each had one at prototype stage, Daniel would find a studio space in Tauranga and Sam and James would make the move up the island. And in July last year, that's exactly what happened.

The YOURS studio and showroom, on Tauranga's 11th Ave, is tucked in behind what was an Art Gallery. The space itself was a bit of a shithole (I saw the before photos); but the trio have transformed it. For months, they spent weekends and late nights in the space, ripping up the stained carpet, laying wooden floorboards, polishing concrete for the showroom floor, constructing walls and making a lot of the furniture from upcycled materials. When Design Mobel went out of business (leaving Daniel out of work), the company donated all sorts of 'scraps' from the factory, including a massive rimu headboard that Dan now has as his desktop, and 20 furniture pallets that the boys have turned into walling.

So, why Tauranga? I didn't really need to ask that - I live at Mount Maunganui for the same reasons they chose the area. It's just a 2-hour drive from Auckland for business, but the leases are much more affordable for a fledgling brand, and there is a definite emerging design scene here. Don't be fooled into thinking it's all surf and sand here - there's sophistication, too.

Just a few weeks ago, the doors opened on YOURS design showroom and studio, and the debut collection of YOURS furniture and lighting...

Look with your eyes...

I'll take one of each, please.

The YOURS space is divided into product showroom...

..and design studio

Quality dudes, quality designers. From left: Daniel Kamp, Sam Griffin, James McNab.

Never not sketching ideas.

Daniel and James.

Teeny tiny dinosaurs. Awesome.

Fellow lights (great name), designed by Sam Griffin.

Introvert floor lamp by Daniel Kamp, and the Collar stool (black stain option) by James McNab

I couldn't stop gawking at the Silo pendant.

Parts on display.

In the next couple of weeks, we'll have a nosey at the YOURS product collection and each designer in more detail, and you'll get a chance to win a YOURS piece.


This brand is my spirit animal


Ferm is my spirit animal. I love every single thing in their new collection. Allllll of the items. Especially the new cushions - I would literally fornicate with those cylinder cushions. 

Fellow & Friends (+ you can WIN a Silo Pendant!)


Last week, I visited the studio and showroom of new NZ design collective, YOURS. And now we're gunna have a closer nosey at some of their products - starting with the Fellow desk lamp and Silo pendant.

Side note: these boys know how to name a product. Fellow is in my notebook of awesome names. 

(To go in the draw, check out the bottom of this post)

The Fellow lamp features hand-turned american ash (leggy blonde) and hand-spun aluminium. There's so much personality in its form, dontcha think? Like a little designer friend on your desk. Hence the name Fellow, actually. 

Sam (Griffin, the head designer for Fellow) tells me that they're also planning a tall/floor version. NICE. 

I love how the fittings remain exposed. That kind of honesty is sexy.

Fellow with its YOURS mate, the Low Profile Stool

Sam Griffin, designer of the Fellow light and co-collaborator on the Silo pendant

YOURS designers Sam and James (McNab) collaborated to design the Silo Pendant. I want one in my home. That's a lie, I want several.

It's industrial shape was inspired by its namesake. The cord wraps around the cage, no extra fittings needed. 

It currently comes in all white, and black or white with raw steel and a red fabric flex.

It also comes either with a fitted ceiling rose or just the cord with a plug - so you don't need an electrician and so you can have play around with how you suspend and make a feature out of the long, exposed cord. Love that. 

Holy guacamole, YOURS is going to give one of you a Silo Pendant, worth over $600.
And you'll get to choose which version you'd like.

To enter, just go to the YOURS Facebook Page, and like it.
Then come back to this post and leave your name in the comments. 

(Yip, we blatantly want you to friend these young NZ designers please - but they're lovely, 
cool and good-looking Facebook buddies to have anyway.)

Last copies of Design Yeah Calendar (and A3 prints) only $29

Because it's halfway through Jan, we've reduced the final copies of Design Yeah to only $29 plus postage. Buy online here

Does your wall need additional awesome?
Design Yeah is a massive wall calendar that features 12 pieces of design, from 12 of NZ's best designers and illustrators.

BUT it's more than just a calendar, it's also 12 limited-edition A3 prints (on a yummy 250gsm matt stock)

Micro-perforations let you cleanly remove the calendar parts, leaving a full size A3 print for your wall. Clever aye.

The super-talented line up:  Zoe Ikin, Sarah McNeil, Brogen Averill, Natasha Vermeulen, Curtis Baigent, Sarah Maxey, Brett King, Jenny Miles and Nik Clifford, Anzac Tasker, Ash Bolland, Gareth O’Brien and Trent Sunderland.

Design Yeah 2013 is a project by Fancy and Design Assembly, with help from the design-loving team at B&F Papers.

Pick n Mix time, guys!


First, this is awesome, please watch it:

"I'm really lucky, I get to do what I love for a living. 
So I sort of feel a responsibility to enjoy it as much as I can."

I had dreams of designing a range of geometric shelving. Way to crush them, CHIAOZZA!

Loving this brand for a small photography lab in the States.  Talk about adding value through a re-brand. Nice work, Matchstic.

Wash basin goodness by designer Michael Hilgers. (found at DesignBoom)
The smokey grey, the fact that it looks like an old-school science beaker, the packaging... I love this Carafe. (I love a Carafe? In related news, Alana is officially OLD. Watch for me wearing pants that sit just below the knee and discussing Laundry tips in 3, 2...) 
Country Road is on the come-up though.

I should start a Society for the Appreciation of Bar and Cafe Brands. 

Collar Stool Cool (+ WIN a Silo Pendant light!)


A couple of weeks ago I visited the studio and showroom of new design collective YOURS, and I'm still going on about it, jeez Alana. 

But I'm also giving away a YOURS Silo pendant! (details at the bottom of this post). 


James McNab is one third of YOURS, and his debut product range for YOURS is the Collar Stool. 
It's super handsome, with its american ash body (available in Short or Tall), and its held together by just a single steel brace - there are no screws at all in the Short stool.

My favourite is the black stained version with black steel brace (there's a pic of it down there, oooweee).

That cross you see is the top of the steel brace that holds the stool completely together. 

Short Collar stool with another YOURS design, the Fellow light

James with his Collar stools, and the Silo Pendant light he collaborated on with Sam Griffin.

The Silo Pendant could be Yours. 
(See what I did there?)

You can win a Silo Pendant, worth over $600! 

To enter, go to the YOURS Facebook Page, and like it. 
Then go here (to my first competition post) and leave your name in the comments.

Winner will be drawn on January 31st. 
Good luck, luckypants!

Of Style and Substance: The story behind Lower and Thanks


From a small local label to a national fashion powerhouse, yet Jake Pyne and his friends remain humble and hardworking…

Back in 1998, Jake was working at Mount surf shop Assault. He’d always had an eye for design and fashion, wearing things that were a little distinctive, picking what was going to be big well before it became mainstream. As he sold and watched labels created by other young NZ guys - labels like Huffer and RPM that were really taking off at the time - Jake toyed with the idea of creating his own.

Glenn and Wendy Bright, Jake’s bosses at Assault, encouraged him to give it a go, so he designed his first Lower t-shirt and had just six of them made. The aim was to have some fun with it; maybe make a little pocket money. When the six sold, he printed another 12, then 24, then 50…

Along with Assault, Jake credits Geoff and Christina Wylie-Miln, owners of Nevada, with helping Lower to take off. Geoff got behind the label, promoting it in his very influential store, and helped navigate Jake through the world of retail along the way. Mike Smith from RPM was an invaluable sounding board in the early days too.

Stores outside the Bay began to take Lower on, but true to its name and its roots, it remained very much an underground label for a long time. First, it grew a very loyal local following, then it started to gather momentum around New Zealand.

Two years after those first six tees were printed, the popularity of Lower was undeniable. Retailers couldn’t keep stock on the shelves. Jake registered a company, calling it You Know We Ain’t Limited. He was right; they most definitely ain’t.

Today, Lower is an influential force not just in New Zealand fashion, but also in popular culture, writing trends one after the other. And if you love Lower, there’s plenty of it to eat up – the brand does four seasonal collections a year, plus monthly ‘Quick Strikes’ (not-to-be-repeated short runs, that often become collector’s items), and other limited edition injections.

In 2008, supported by the popularity of Lower, the company decided to open a concept boutique, one that would break the streetwear mould. “We liked the idea of being able to present our brands the way we wanted to.”

Re-writing those retail rules that stores need to be on a main strip, with foot traffic, the first Thanks store sat in Mount Maunganui’s semi-industrial Matai Street.  Jake and his friends decided just to offer a well-curated selection of their favourite labels. Thanks stocks Ksubi, PAM, Stolen Girlfriends Club, Something Else, and other leading-edge and independent brands, many of which are not widely available in New Zealand.  Thanks is also the first (and often last, with product selling out quickly) to get new drops from Lower.  And all that support Jake was given by storeowners when he first started out? He’s been able to pay it forward, stocking Thanks with emerging labels from local designers.

There’s more than just clothing at Thanks. There’s luggage, jewellery, independent publications and an inimitable atmosphere, too. Music plays on vinyl, the interior design and product styling is brilliant, and the staff are fun and unaffected.

Thanks proved so popular a concept that a second store was opened – only six kilometres away from the first, in Tauranga’s Spring Street.  Next came a new Mount Store. Matai Street was getting too small to house both the retail space, and the You Know We Aint Ltd. family of designers and operations staff.  When the old Island Style building became available, it must have seemed like providence. Island Style was once a local institution, an indelible part of the fabric of the Mount, and its owner Derek Winter had sponsored Jake in surfing many years earlier. “There’s so much history and local emotion tied to that building, and Derek Winter was such an inspiration back in the day,” Jake says. “Internally, we don’t call it Thanks, actually  – we still call it Island Style.”

Just a few months ago, Thanks opened its first out-of-town store, in Napier. The reception so far has exceeded every expectation.  There’s an online store too, thanksshop.co.nz. It opened soon after the first shop, offering the same carefully curated product range to the rest of New Zealand – with free delivery.

Why has Lower and Thanks resonated so much with people? That’s not easy to put into words. There are just some who see things differently, aesthetes who ‘get it’ before the rest of us. The tastemakers.   They’re the sort of people, Jake and his friends, who always want to be doing something fresh, realising new projects and exploring new ideas.

So, because some of their ideas didn’t fit inside the Lower brand and their collective taste had broadened with time, they created three new clothing labels. Yip, you read that right – three. All within just a few years, and all whilst launching and running the Thanks stores and other ventures.

First came Five Each, a smart basics brand with a clean, simple aesthetic. Only five men’s designs and five women’s designs are created each season, in understated colourways.

Next was menswear label ON & ON, a more grown-up, sartorial older brother to the youthful Lower brand. ON & ON is Jake’s personal project in many ways, an outlet for his higher-end design ideas. The range includes beautiful leather goods to dress your tech, like the honey-coloured, hand-stitched (and seriously handsome) iPhone sleeve.

Now & Then is the latest label in the You Know We Aint Ltd. stable. Its feminine yet functional aesthetic takes what’s on-trend and blends it with vintage inspiration. The collections, along with Five Each garments, are all designed by Tamryn Reeve.

What next, then? The company has already been experimenting with product design, releasing a limited edition Lower G-Shock watch. And Thanks has just made its first foray into furniture design, collaborating with local designer Timothy John on the Sidekick stool.

You’d be forgiven for assuming - with such success in the fashion industry and a brand built on being very much ahead of the pack - that Jake Pyne would have a certain sort of attitude.  The truth is, I’ve not met a more humble, helpful guy.

He lights up when he talks about the inspiration and support he gets from his wife of 12 years, Stacey, and their kids - daughter Milla (7) and sons Hayes (5) and Ari (4).   And when I ask Jake why he thinks he’s been so successful, he doesn’t mention himself once.  Jake and Stacey trust that a higher power is to thank for it all.  He feels blessed in so many ways; not least of which is his team. Many of them were friends of Jake’s or fans of the brand before coming on board. “We have amazing, hugely talented staff. People I’m proud to call my friends.”

Jake is also ever-grateful to the businesses and customers who have got behind his brands along the way.  “That’s why we called the stores Thanks. If it weren’t for the support of other people, especially locally, this whole story would never have happened. We never want to take that for granted.”

“Fashion constantly changes, and we want to always be moving and evolving. But our values never will.”


This was actually an article I wrote for UNO magazine's Summer issue. I thought you might be interested in and inspired by it...  Photos by Quinn O'Connell.

Recommended Listening - Lorde


Thanks to Katherine (is awesome), I've been listening to Lorde all morning.
Highly recommended, guys - press play.

(She's from NZ, she's only 16 and she writes her own stuff).

You can download her full EP here, for free.

Five Faves


Five quick things I liked today...

I need one of these old school peg boards.

Beci Orpin wall hanging for Urban Outfitters.

This wall decal is a little earnest and folksy, but I like it anyway.

I just bought my desk this poster.

Provisions is the brand of a boutique deli in Australia. (side note: mmm, cheeses.)
Predictably, yip, I love the logo... but it's the name that really does it for me. 

Brand & Store Front Appreciation Society


I hereby call the first meeting of the Brand & Store Front Appreciation Society. Help yourself to a cup of Pinto and a Superwine. First on the agenda, August cafe in Wellington. Sorry I don't have more photos, I was too busy making name tags.

A Design Introvert (+ you could win a Silo Pendant light)


Here's Daniel Kamp, one third of NZ design collective, YOURS. Let's have a look at the two products he has designed for the YOURS debut range...

Daniel Kamp from YOURS design. Sort of looks like Jude Law.

First, a gloss black floor lamp, called Introvert. Introvert is 3 simple lengths of powder-coated steel, with their bowing LED light heads turned inward. 

Check out the way the electrical cord (white fabric flex) wraps itself around the 3 pieces, before cleanly tucking itself back inside the leg and popping out again at the base. 

Dan's Low Profile and High Profile stool (made in different heights for standard bench-tops) is a subtle yet sophisticated character - a lot like its designer, actually.  

High Profile Stool from YOURS design

I'm hiding behind some indoor plants here.

 You can win a Silo Pendant light from YOURS, worth over $600.

To enter, go to the YOURS Facebook Page, and like it. 
Then go here (to my first competition post) and leave your name in the comments.

Winner will be drawn tomorrow! (January 31st) 

The YOURS debut collection. 
What a handsome family they make.

And now, back to regular programming


Sorry for the radio silence guys, I went off and got married. 
And now, back to regular programming...

cool brand (pun intended)


Order your choice of grind, and boutique roastery Eighthirty will deliver it to you. And if you're in downtown Auckland/Ponsonby, you can choose delivery by bike.

But it's their Cold Press coffee - in those cool-as-ice glass bottles - that are making me want a delivery right into my mouth.

(Design kudos to Butcher & Butcher)

Valentine's freebie for lazy people


Our Sensitive Boyfriend, Drus, has made these downloadable cards for last minute Valentine's. 
Just download, print on A4, fold... you don't even need a pair of snips. (I just wanted to say snips.) There's also a bunch of other DIY Valentine's ideas from Sensitive Boyfriend here.

PS: I love you guys.

Fancy Spaces I wish I lived in...


Bathed in light is always a good look. 
Love that shelving unit too.

Just darling.
(I don't know if I've ever used that term before - darling - but it's perfect for this little scene, doncha think?) 
Those wooden lights! That shelf! (From Bride & Wolfe...) Those cushions! (Ink & Spindle)

Rooms taste good with a little bit of mustard. 
All kinds of yes over at Coffeeklatch.

I must own that white chair... anyone know what it is?
(Image from the insanely good Milk magazine)

Fancy Spaces is brought to you by NZ's own designer rug company, Dilana.