Fashion Week Diaries: Day four with FQ features director Emma Gleason

31 August 2019
By Fashion Quarterly

Emma Gleason at Zambesi

With a busy day full of exciting shows from emerging designers and industry veterans alike, FQ features director Emma Gleason has her plate full – here’s how it went.

My alarm goes off. I update my FQ bingo from yesterday, then get out of bed, wash and dry my hair, and get dressed. Today I’m wearing my bright orange Penny Sage trousers (my “fashion Dickies”), a lace-trimmed shirt I bought at a secondhand store in Croatia, and my vintage Nom*d sweater vest. This week I’ve been strictly wearing clothes that are either locally made or vintage, and everything is something I have purchased – if there’s a message in that it’s that good clothes endure and we should make careful, sustainable wardrobe voices.

Porridge time! It’s filling and always sustains me for hours – which is important because today is a busy one. We’ve run out of coffee so I have a cup of tea while checking my emails and Instagram.

I leave home to walk to work.

Did I lock the front door? I can’t remember and go back to check. As usual, of course it’s locked.

Now I’m actually waking to the office, and I call my mum for a chat on the way. It’s so nice to have some “outside time” and get some fresh air after such a hectic week stuck inside shows, taxis and the office. I cave and buy a coffee because I’m exhausted after going out to Avondale for the Stolen Girlfriends Club show last night.

I’m spending the morning at my desk, loading content from yesterday’s shows (it takes longer than you’d think) and getting organised for the day ahead. I’m also “taking over” the FQ Instagram story today, so I try and prepare mentally for that. My desk is a mess, covered in empty glasses, pantyhose, invitations, notes and some fresh fruit that I still haven’t had time to eat yet.

I get distracted by a cute dog called Charlie in our office reception area.

Myself, our digital editor Kelly and features editor Jessica-Belle attend the Diversity Conversation panel in the concert chamber of the town hall. The speakers are Jess Quinn, Meagan Kerr, Grace Stratton, Sammy Salsa, Zeenat Wilkinson, Mercy Brewer and Kiri Nathan, and they share their own personal experiences and discuss the steps needed for true inclusion across all aspects of the New Zealand fashion industry – providing valuable learnings for both brands and media alike. We are all quite emotional by the end of the panel, and discuss the topics the whole way back to work – there have been so many inspiring and honest conversations this week around what we can do to evolve the spaces in our industry.

We swing by the office to pick up editor-in-chief Zoe Walker Ahwa and head up to Karangahape Road to view the new range from Saben and chat to their team. They have some particularly great bags this season with really cool custom-made attachments. I make a mental note get a hands-free cross-body bag (after carrying around my basket bag all week and operating one-handed).

My boyfriend’s mum rings me to discuss his 30th birthday which is very soon; I wish I had more time to chat.

Okay back to the office; we all frantically get to work – with our coverage living across our website and social media channels, there’s a lot to do (and so much to say this week). I eat a small bag of mini-pretzels, drink as much water as possible, and give Jessica-Belle a band-aid for her blister.

Back to the town hall, this time to see the Contemporary Collective show featuring Starving Artists Fund and Havilah.

Starving Artists Fund has one of my favourite beauty looks this week – I love a big 80s blush moment.

Starving Artists Fund

I’ve been excited to see designer Havilah Arendse’s collection all week – my favourite is a sheer floral dress that is pure nostalgic romance, worn by the absolutely gorgeous model (and opera singer!) Isabella Moore, who has been a delight to see on the runway this week – she also walked in the Paris Georgia show.

Model at Havilah

Zoe, Jessica-Belle and I walk down to Ellen Melville Hall on High Street, where there is a show from textile veterans Jeanine Clarkin and Tāwhiao. We bump into industry legend Doris de Pont outside (the woman behind New Zealand Fashion Museum) who is wearing a super cool dress made from silk ties – she tells us that she bought it at the Auckland City Mission auction. I love her.

We realise we haven’t eaten yet today, and collectively feel quite wiped (and a little behind) so we head to my favourite spot in town, Federal Delicatessen, to fuel up and do some work before the next show. We all order chicken salad sandwiches, of course. With our window of time running out, we don’t finish our chips, so I get them in a takeaway cardboard box and put them in my basket for later.

We arrive at the Miromoda show and I’m excited to see the collection of a designer I met yesterday, the lovely (and so well dressed) Te Orihau Karaitiana. My expectations are met, and his label Matu is one of the highlights of the show.

Model at Matu by Te Orihau Karaitiana

We leave Miromoda as soon as possible, eager not to get caught up in the huge crowd (great turnout), and head back to the office to get as much work done in the chunk of time before the next show. I’m exhausted, but also buzzing from everything I’ve seen today. I eat some cheese and have a wine spritzer at my desk, but still feel like I look incredibly haggard, so I head to the office bathroom and reapply some makeup, brush my teeth and change my shoes. The temperature has dropped since this afternoon, so I layer up with my vintage Calvin Klein merino coat.

The FQ team all pile into a van and, after a quick head count, head to the Auckland Public Library – the location of tonight’s Zambesi show. It’s a brilliant choice of venue, and as we arrive we see that the historic St James theatre is the backdrop for projections of old Zambesi shows and campaigns. I have a quick chat with Zeenat Wilkinson, congratulating her on her panel talk, and catch up with illustrator Kelly Thompson before heading inside.

I don’t get far, as I bump into the super talented (and stunning) rapper JessB inside the doors – I was lucky enough to interview her recently for our current issue (on newsstands now) and she’s playing at our sold-out NZ Fashion Weekend show tomorrow Fashion Quarterly presents The Edit.

I am told to stop looking at the books and sit in my seat because the show is about to begin – oops.

Zambesi starts, and Ch’lita (one of my favourite faces) opens the show, descending the escalator before winding her way amongst the shelves through the crowd. The location, atmosphere and significance of Zambesi’s 40th year have me pumped, and the collection that follows is one of the brand’s strongest; I mentally flag the sweater vests, branded scarves and wide-leg men’s suits.

Chlita at Zambesi

Last stop for the night is a pop-up karaoke bar above Q Theatre, part of The Blind Date Project. The consistently crack-up Ra Pomare stuns with a rendition of ‘Shallow’ from A Star is Born.

Time to head home, I’m absolutely knackered.

Sitting on the couch in my trackpants and a jumper (finally!) and have some toast. I catch up on the day’s events and fill in my FQ NZFW bingo card – finally getting a B.I.N.GO.

I do a little work ahead of tomorrow, still buzzing from such an inspiring day, then finally call it a night and hit the hay.

Find out more about FQ features director Emma Gleason and follow her on Instagram here.


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