z is for zestee

Creator of ZesTee Fashion-Holly

New Zealand T-shirt and Jewelry designer Holly uses her naturalistic aesthetic to inspire the look of her designs. beenalabella.com had the pleasure of chatting with Holly about the wonders of ZesTee Fashion.

1. What inspired you to create ZesTee Fashion?
I was exposed to the world of art from an early age. I grew up with a passion for design after being inspired by my father’s art creations. I began painting and took regular courses at the local art studio. I continued to design as a hobby and after working for a short time as a lawyer; I immigrated to New Zealand in 2003 and resided in Christchurch. While I was working in the marketing field in New Zealand, I took a business management course. After finishing it, I decided that it was time to follow my original dream and pursue my love of art. I decided to take a leadership of my life and to start my own business and translate my designs into wearable art.

2. In 2003 you immigrated to Christchurch New Zealand, where did you previously reside and why did you choose NZ as your new residence?Originally I came from Israel. Due to the bad economy back in 2002 and the bad security situation, I was looking for a quiet place that will enable me to relax from the daily stresses. I researched several options but the immigration rules in NZ were the least tough in comparison to other places and I heard there is a good quality of life there (and it’s definitely true!).

3. What are some great shopping spots in New Zealand?
New market in Auckland is the fashion capital of New Zealand and offers a great experience for lovers of all-things retail with both international and local designers. Also The Arts Center of Christchurch is a vibrant venue for a big range of New Zealand made art and crafts, with specialty shops, fine art galleries and a busy weekend art and craft market.

4. How would you describe your personal style? My wardrobe focuses on the basic colors of black, gray and beige and I like to add to them a bit of color. I don’t like being colorful from head to toe, otherwise it can be over the top, but adding one colorful piece can make wonders to your look! Sometimes I stick to the basic colors but add an interesting accessory such as a nice belt, a colorful piece of jewelry, a scarf, or a nice bag. It always looks elegant and clean but not boring.

5. Which piece of your jewelry would you say is your favorite and why?
It’s very hard to choose one single piece, as often I change my mind and it depends on the outfit I wear, but when doing hardware jewelry I discovered the color combination of silver and gold together in one piece. Each color enhances the other and gives more interest to the jewelry.

6. What influenced the look of your designs?
When I came to New Zealand I traveled all over the country, and the beautiful scenery inspired the naturalistic designs of my printed T-shirts. Nature can really opens up for you a great source of inspiration if you just look at it more closely, such as concentrating in shape, pattern or color combination. With my hardware jewelry I like taking “ordinary” and “simple” items such as hardware, and take them to a different direction. Not many people think you can wear hardware bits and pieces around your neck, but I love to prove them that you can create from hardware something beautiful to wear. It enables me to be creative and original in my work. I like making unique jewelry that no one else has. It’s something different that makes you stand out from the crowd.

7. What is your biggest accomplishment since launching ZesTee fashion?ZesTee Fashion has been launched a short time ago and the achievement I’m particularly proud of is actually establishing the business from scratch! The whole idea of establishing an online shop that will sell products I design started more than 3 years ago, but has been delayed due to lack of time (working full time job, raising young kids), lack of courage and so on. So starting to operate the business is for me achievement of its own. Another accomplishment I’m proud of is that the business enabled me to develop my creative skills. Originally I thought to focus only on T-shirts but then I added to the range of T-shirts I design also a very original jewelry I made with non-traditional materials from the hardware store, and the collection came out very unique and original and received a lot of interest.

8. What advice would you give to an individual breaking into the fashion industry?
A lot of patience!
You first need to build and establish your brand before people recognize you, and it takes time. You need to do a lot of marketing and PR, and as it is a very competitive market you need to find your point of difference and uniqueness and find your own niche market.

9. Aside from your business, what are your hobbies?
I love painting. I now fill the walls of my home with my paintings. I also love reading (especially about art, style and personal development) and also like traveling and seeing new places.

10. If you could describe in one word the feeling you get when a customer purchases one of your pieces, what would it be? Exhilaration! - It really makes my day.

ZesTee Hardware Jewelry and Artsy T-shirts

royal necklace $33.01 usd

abstract pattern art t-shirt $41.27 usd available in black, white, ocean blue, lime, lilac, pink and putty

square necklace $33.01 usd
queenspark ultra soft organic bamboo shirt $55.02 usd available in brown, moss and black

heather necklace $33.01 usd

floral bouquet art t-shirt $41.27 usd available in red, cerise, chocolate, navy, new sky, thriste, tangerine and kalamitz

Check out more of Holly's designs @ http://www.zesteefashion.com/shop/

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