This month we talk to Annika from conscious fashion label Annika Deboer.
As we saw recently, Annika's made to order pieces can be a classic, beautiful and ethical choice for a wedding dress. Such an honour to go behind the scenes for a moment, a genuine and talented designer. Be sure to follow her - Annika Deboer is one to watch.
How did your label Annika Deboer come about?
Well it came from not being able to find the clothes I wanted to wear being made in an ethical and sustainable manner, I wanted a brand that was looking at all aspects of their waste/manufacturing process not just a small section of it.
What were you doing pre Annika Deboer?
Once I graduated I hopped about working for a local Wellington designer in my spare time and days off and juggled a bridal job full time. Then moved into interiors and managing a homewares store. After landing my dream job at the homewares store, I followed my love half way up the country and found myself jobless and in a new city not knowing a single person.
Where did your love of fashion and designing start?
Very very young, my poor mother fought with me each morning just to try and get me to wear something other than my signature gumboots and swim suit with the attached ruffle skirt.
It was a look and those photos made a 21st appearance!
My momma, aunty and grandmothers were all an influence in my fashion, my grandmothers came from a time that I dream of living in where you not dare adventure out in your PJs.
Who are your muses? Inspiration?
Nature would be my biggest inspiration. I'm always floored at just how freaking amazing it is. It produces all these colours, textures and gorgeous gemstones. We are so lucky to walk around amongst all this and so often we don’t take notice of the change in seasons.
I have so many muses and I always meet, read or hear about more women and men that inspire me. There are those who are closest to me that inspire me daily, my momma being a big one for sure.
The past is also a big influence, Ive always felt out of tune and should have been born in a different time. The art of dressing from the 40’s, 50’s and 60s always gets me. I also have a love for the 70’s just so fun and carefree.
In what ways are the garments sustainable?
Gosh where do I start, well fabric. I chose to use a limited range of fabrics only naturals, so they are 100% biodegradable and dyed in the most ecofriendly way possible whilst still holding great colour.
We then only make the garments once they are ordered so there is no over production reducing our fabric waste.
When it comes to waste… well you will have to sign up to our newsletters or follow us on instagram as we have some very big exciting announcements coming. I like to take every aspect into consideration and do a lot of research and reading before making a choice.
How did your sustainable journey begin?
My partner Jordon was the starting point of our whole journey. He wanted to grow all his own vegetables like his grandparents did. So we started with that and then it just rapidly grew into reducing as much unnecessary consumption of stuff. We purged all our double/triple ups and it was like a switch turned on of really how little we need to enjoy a fulfilling life. Also getting rid of our TV was a massive impact - we haven’t owned one in 6 years and we have been together for 8 so we do a lot of talking/singing/dancing/ in our home.
I'm not a minimalist - If you saw our book and record collection you’d see we are collectors at heart - But we chose to only have things that enhance our living and how we want to live. The things we have we value most and after that remove anything that distracts us from it. All the things in our home we love and bring us joy, and sometimes we wait for the right item to come along before we consider making the purchase and even then we go through a lot of thinking and talking about weather or not we will use it and value it. Each item is heavily considered with exceptions - You never turn down a Dr Hook or Buddy Holly record.
Your current collection is so beautiful, are they inspired by what you love to wear yourself, or do you have a particular market in mind?
The current collection is inspired from the 1800’s, those gorgeous puff sleeves and fitted dresses and of course pieces that I would love to wear myself. I just like to design pieces that are classic and can be worn through the years.
What is the philosophy around Annika Deboer?
Less is always more, with a focus on classic timelessness.
I want women to have these pieces for ever, to pull them out and still be in love with them in the next 5-10 years and feel gorgeous and like themselves each time they wear it - when I’ve done that I'll be happy.
You make to order?? (This is freakin amazing btw)
Yep, each garment is made once you’ve ordered it. This way we don’t over produce and have garments made that haven’t been sold and could have lived another life as a different garment.
I understand for some that can be a barrier as most of us like to receive our new pieces in a couple of days but with each purchase its an exciting time to anticipate and appreciate that you’ve purchased a piece of clothing that is crafted with love and effecting the world in a positive way. So when it arrives it's worth treasuring and was worth the wait.
Photos credits: Annika Deboer,, Blush Photography, Hair by Hannah, Belle & Sage, Recreate Clothing, One Poppy Wedding Flowers, Penelope's Child, Ethically Kate, Tim Hall, Knots and Rose, Pretty Prop Shop, Miss Hemingway, SGJ Bridal, Lil Ceramics, Church Confetti, Mataia Homestead,
We recently used your beautiful Grace Dress in a wedding photo shoot - it was such a perfect fit for the shoot. I'm not aware of any sustainable wedding designers in NZ (prove me wrong!). Could you see yourself designing a sustainable wedding line?
Well since that gorgeous day at Mataia Homestead, Ive had the honour of doing another two wedding dresses. Its not something I see myself doing everyday but I love working with someone on something that will be treasured for years to come, and something that isn’t a normal wedding dress is also special.
What is your process for choosing what goes into each collection?
It starts with a feeling - Mostly when the seasons start to change, that really helps guide what each collection will carry. I also like pieces that can be worn with another piece in the collection - versatility is so important as that can make a piece so valuable in your wardrobe. I know for me I love when a piece can be worn through the seasons.
What is next for Annika Deboer?
We have a new collection coming that I am very excited about and some really big even more exciting news on our zero waste journey. There are also a lot of structural changes as to how we will go about future collections, making smaller drops throughout the year with pieces staying around longer.
To find out more and follow their journey: