New Zealand Fashion Week
26 August 2019 - 1 September 2019


Meet The Designers w/ Starving Artists Fund

Starving Artist Fund - image 3.jpg

Throughout her life, Natasha Ovely has lived in cultures across Asia, the Middle East, New Zealand and Europe. From a young age, she observed clothing in different contexts and its impact on perception.

A vivid image from her childhood includes that of her mother dressed in an abaya in Saudi Arabia while wearing high waisted jeans and a crop top underneath. These experiences evoked an interest in the way fashion shaped value systems, psychology, cultural identity and forms of protest.

Her approach to fashion design is deeply rooted in her Fine Art Sculpture background. She embraces her position as a 'cultural outsider' and applies it to her design.

Self-taught in fashion design, she established Starving Artists Fund in 2018. We asked her some questions in the lead up to NZFW 2019 and about her journey thus far.

What’s your brand story? 

We are a socially conscious, gender neutral clothing brand. All our clothing is ethically made and locally produced in Auckland, New Zealand. We adopt a sustainable approach to making and stand behind the slow fashion movement.

Starving Artists Fund cultivates the culture of 'radical inclusivity' by celebrating individuality, body positivity, diversity, and non-binary perspectives. We priorities originality in design and aim to create reactionary collections that respond to our times. 

What can we expect from your show this year? 

A representation of our brand values in an interactive, emboldened way.

How does this year’s Fashion Week theme ‘Sustainability’ resonate with your brand and your collection? 

SAF is an ethical brand, all of our garments are locally produced in Auckland, NZ. We have a sustainable approach to making and stand behind the slow fashion movement. This means we only produce limited runs or made to order pieces. 

We want to challenge the misconception that timeless design means characterless design. Although our pieces aren't considered every day wear, we still think they pass the ’30 wear rule’ by being the go-to pieces when you need to feel formidable.

What’s your favourite story/show/moment/feeling from New Zealand Fashion Week?

Watching the first look from ‘Future Plans’ go down the runway on the screen backstage, a completely surreal moment.

Tell us your favourite leverage or connection to come from your participation in New Zealand Fashion Week?

Interacting with the media and therefore reaching out to a larger audience/demographic has been incredibly valuable for our brand. Testing the reactions of various markets locally and overseas is also a huge plus, as we aim to create a brand with global reach. Connecting with fellow designers working through the same challenges of starting a brand  created a sense of camaraderie for me. 

Megan Cunningham