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Down the cobbled laneways, and of all the New Zealand designer boutiques that Newmarket is best known for, Juliette Hogan is one of the first that springs to mind. Opening in Osborne Lane in 2015, Juliette Hogan continues to design for the modern woman, and with that, it was time to modernise the Newmarket store. Zara Overton caught up with founder Juliette Hogan to find out more about the renovation and evolution of the brand.
N. The past year has been a challenging time for businesses who have had to adapt and quickly change the way they operate. What are some of the learnings that you have had since COVID?
Juliette Hogan. Reflecting on the last year, as an individual, and as part of a wider community and country, it has certainly presented us with some extraordinary challenges, but the surprising outcome for me has been the genuinely rewarding learning and growth opportunities that the year has provided. In the 17 years since I launched Juliette Hogan, I have never had such a strong impetus or the opportunity to really step back and make big decisions on where we wanted this business and brand to be, and how we were going to evolve to get there.
At Juliette Hogan our focus has always been on thoughtful design using quality materials and craftsmanship to create garments that stand the test of time - a design focus that had begun to feel out of step with the traditional fashion calendar that we were prescribed to. We listened to new conversations amongst some of the biggest players in the global luxury industry about the detrimental effects to brand, sales and loyalty resulting from this cycle, now out of sync with real-world seasons.
This thought-provoking and welcome dialogue resonated strongly with us here at Juliette Hogan and we are excited to begin to action change based on these ideas and to see the positive effect it can have within our industry in New Zealand for designers, retailers, and customers alike. Reflecting the timeless and enduring design aesthetic of Juliette Hogan, 2021 saw a new approach forgoing the constraints of traditional seasons. Five collections are launched annually and tied more harmoniously to real seasonal change.
Each collection embracing the simple sophistication and everyday luxury synonymous with the brand and intrinsically linked through considered design and an immutable sense of ease and elegance. Loved shapes and fabrications travel from one collection to the next and are given freshness through thoughtful palette and print updates alongside the subtle yet statement evolution of the Juliette Hogan silhouette. This new approach heroes the longevity of each Juliette Hogan piece and an appreciation of the ability to build upon our Juliette Hogan wardrobes as we move seamlessly from season to season. Each collection able to stand alone as a comprehensive and cohesive body of work yet grounded with a consideration of both what has been, and what is yet to come.
In addition to reworking our seasonal calendar, we also launched our JH Lounge collection in June 2020. This collection had been in development for some time, however the timing was really perfect to launch to market. We are extremely proud of our team as we look back at a challenging, dynamic, exciting, and at times confronting year. Collectively we have adapted to a new normal and tapped into our team’s individual strengths emerging more unified than ever before.
Our Newmarket store as our main hub for online distribution and customer service has been such an integral part of this journey, with the team rising to these new challenges outside of the traditional retail environment. They have been challenged more than ever before and proved themselves time and again delivering excellence in customer service, not only to the Newmarket shoppers, but to our customers all over the world.
N. Newmarket’s Juliette Hogan store has recently had an update – can you tell us about the refit?
J. Our Newmarket store is our largest and busiest store. We opened in 2015 on a bit of a shoestring budget, and we felt that it was overdue a bit of attention! We opened a new store in Christchurch earlier this year, and for this we worked with Alice Lines from homestyle magazine and the team at Think & Shift to help bring our design vision to life. For our Newmarket fit out we mirrored many of these elements – but also looked to respond and incorporate the unique character of our Newmarket site. The result is beautiful, luxurious, warm and welcoming. We can’t wait for our customers to be able to experience it.
N. What inspires you on a day-to-day basis?
J. Travel (though there’s not been too much of that lately!), people, art, architecture, podcasts... I’m always looking to keep myself inspired and learning.
N. You recently received the Best Customer Experience Award at the 2021 Newmarket Business Awards. What do awards like this mean to your business?
J. It is so wonderful to have this recognition for our team, especially after such a challenging year. The team has really had to adapt to new ways of working and I am so proud of them.
N. The fusion of art and fashion remains strong across all aspects of the brand, from collaborations with local artists, art competitions for kids, incredible textile design and beautiful artworks throughout your stores. What type of role does art play in your design process?
J. Juliette Hogan prints are such an important part of our collections. We are always looking outwards for inspiration around these – travel, nature and art. We regularly collaborate with artists for our print stories providing a brief and palette to them and it is always so fascinating to see our vision expressed back to us from a different perspective.
N. What was the inspiration behind your Spring/Summer collection?
J. The new collection from Juliette Hogan once again delivers the ease and everyday luxury synonymous with the designer. Evoking a subtle 70s vibe, I looked to the freedom and vibrancy of architecture and for inspiration, filtered back through a refined lens. The collection balances playful feminine silhouettes against more masculine sharp tailored pieces in a surprising palette of fresh pop tones and signature JH prints, highly anticipated each season. Emotive prints journey from the free and expressive to the more restrained with key highlights the Mosiac – a kaleidoscope haze, and Sherbet Fizz, a creation by talented in-house print designer Louise Cuckow reworking an image of an abundant bouquet of preserved flowers created by Floral Centric.
N. What do you have on your fashion wishlist right now?
J. The Row Bare Sandals, just love them.
N. What advice do you give to young designers?
J. Be patient. Work hard. Be true to yourself. Surround yourself with a team that will inspire & teach you. Ask for help when you need it, and also when you don’t - you can learn so much from spending time with people who have experienced it all before.
N. Do you have a favourite designer? If so, who?
J. I find so many people's work inspiring. I love seeing how designers interpret their world and translate it into a finished product – whether that be fashion, architecture, art.. the list goes on.
N. What can we expect to see next from Juliette Hogan?
J. More beautiful clothes that celebrate life which I get so much joy out of designing. We also proud to be have launched (in November) the Amisfield Pinot Noir Rosé 2021 Cuveé Juliette Hogan available online at their website or at Amisfield Bistro cellar door now. We hope to be able to travel to Amisfield in Queenstown agains soon!
2-8 Osborne Street