Meet The Designers w/ Campbell Luke
What is your brand story?
Campbell Luke was conceived in 2015 by myself (tribal affiliations Ngāti Ruanui, Taranaki descent) and my partner Dominic Blake has now joined the team to complement knowledge and business growth of the brand (tribal affiliations Ngati Kahungunu). We have a strong kaupapa Māori work ethic, developed over the years of working collaboratively with whānau and Iwi for whānau and Iwi. We have a vision of presenting Māori excellence both culturally and commercially.
Growing up at my mother’s knee and witnessing the workings of the Pā, in particular, the women working within the kitchen, I was inspired to combine fond, early childhood memories and design aesthetic to create collections. The concept of ‘ Kakahu Hau’ meaning breath of life into the kākahu (clothes), taking us on a journey of elegance, feminism, and strength. Delivering business with a kaupapa Māori ethos gives us a point of difference and a foundation built on centuries of tradition.
The concept of ‘Rongo’ (deity of peace) which also traverses into the concept of Manākitanga (caring for, looking after) is part of the Campbell-Luke Identity. The Manākitanga aesthetic is centralised around memories of an era when the simplest of activities in domestic life, housewares and linens, delivered whānau(family) values, dignity and now nostalgia on a daily basis. The lessons of entrepreneurialism, realities of small business, in my final year of completing a Ph.D. at AUT, advocates of change to current social impacts of culture within fashion and fashion education set both young men & women on a future of paving journeys for Moko generations (our grandchildren’s generations). With a strong matriarchal upbringing, Bobby strives to decolonise fashion aesthetics, to empower women’s individuality and to inspire creativity through sentimental design and articles of our past.
What can we expect from your show this year?
This year we will be carrying the theme of ‘ Kakahu Hau’ - The breath of Cloth. I see this years show as an activation of concepts formed into a preformatice subject that subdues the colonial aspects of a ‘Fashion Show’ as a point of difference. This year sets an opportunity to showcase stories that reflect Maori histories and cultural exchanges.
What has inspired the collection you will be showing at NZFW 2019?
The collection is inspired by Carte De visite - the instagram of the 1800s. The Carte De Visite was the first photograph produced on paper. It brought studio portrait photos within reach a much wider range of people. The carte also made possible the first ‘celebrity’ photography, with a growing demand for images of popular and notable figures. Curiosity among European settlers about New Zealand’s ‘other’ culture created a lucrative market for images of Māori.
These images are of our Tipuna (ancestors) , Displayed in british Pomp are the first photographs seen of Maori in the wider world. It also politicizes the effects of colonialism in New Zealand, as the photographs reads that Maori or the “Other” are fitting harmoniously with the british, when we not it was not.
The collection seeks to reverse the concept of colonisation and seeks a harmonious contemporary approach. This Collection Celebrates my Mounga (mountain) Taranaki, My iwi, My family and the histories it holds.
How does this year’s Fashion Week theme ‘Sustainability’ resonate with your brand and your collection?
Again, social impacts in Fashion needs to change systematically to find a holistic way of both managing a business and taking care of those whom you work with. Kaupapa Maori (google it), is a huge aspect of the brands Identity. As we are Maori being Maori.
What’s your favourite story/show/moment/feeling from New Zealand Fashion Week?
In 2008 I was 15 years old for 4 years I volunteered as an usher and now 11 years on I’m having my own show.
What was your motivation behind wanting to take part in New Zealand Fashion Week?
To Create a disruption in the industry in presenting a collection in a new way.
Why is New Is Zealand Fashion Week so important for designers and the industry as a whole?
As it's a starting point for emerging designers.