Meet Natalie Newlands, founder and designer of New Lands Studio clothing

6 June 2024
By Fashion Quarterly

We speak with the creative force behind Queenstown-based brand New Lands about her new collaboration with Sherwood Hotel.

Growing up in a farming family in North Otago, it seems fitting that Natalie Newlands went on to launch a label celebrated for its knitwear. Having worn many hats throughout her 24-year tenure in the fashion industry — which includes a stint at fellow Kiwi label Nom*D and ownership of Queenstown boutique Angel Divine — each garment from Newlands’ eponymous brand is imbued with a distinctly southern spirit. Lauded for her comfortable and timeless designs that place equal emphasis on function and form, Newlands has recently extended her design offering, collaborating with boutique hotel Sherwood Queenstown to create their latest uniforms. This partnership, rooted in shared values of luxury and sustainability, saw Newlands craft an earthy green collection to reflect Sherwood’s eco-conscious ethos. To celebrate the brands coming together, FQ sat down with Newlands to learn more about the collaboration process, her extensive background in the fashion industry, and her involvement in Mindful Fashion NZ. 

In conversation with Natalie Newlands:

Please tell us a bit about you and your career to-date:

I’m a South Island farm girl at heart with a love of creating things. I’ve been in the fashion industry for 24 years, working in several fashion houses. I owned Angel Divine Boutique in Queenstown for eight years and have been the creative director at New Lands for the past few years, with an additional focus on commercial uniforms and the All of Us Community. I’m a mother to three vibrant, wonderful boys. I’m curious, quick-thinking, and love conceptualising ideas.

What’s your New Lands design signature?

I find joy in designing clothes with intention that blend beauty, craft, and function—garments that perform well and are designed to endure, becoming part of your personal story. I love playing with colours and textures that evoke feelings and add depth to every garment. Our collections are all about comfort and easy self-expression, designed to celebrate every woman’s inner hero. I value the functionality of a garment—like uniforms—because when you feel comfortable, it’s empowering and reflected in your day-to-day life. These are the pieces we reach for time and again.

You’ve recently designed the new uniforms for Sherwood in Queenstown. How did this opportunity come about? What was the process like? 

The Sherwood for me is a creative hub for connection, I often have meetings, or base my workdays there. The coffee and food are consistently good.  It was one of those moments where I was showing ranges to my stockist and Hayley from the Sherwood was like, ‘let’s collaborate’. Divine timing moments.

The process was enjoyable; Hayley and the team are amazing. Understanding the Sherwood ethos and intentions for their uniforms is always the foundation, and weaving in New Lands’ pillars of form and functionality was seamless. It is supportive having the team try on samples for diverse feedback, which helped during the process. Collaboration for me is about being nimble and open to ideas; I enjoy bringing the conceptual element to life.

Sherwood is a conscious and progressive establishment, dedicated to minimal environmental impact and maximum positive social impact. We are so lucky to have such an incredible place in our community. 

We use end-of-line stock for our New Lands wovens and don’t overproduce. Being mindful of environmental impact, we focus on natural fibres and garments that withstand endless seasons. Both New Lands and Sherwood embody a grounded approach that is heart-led and genuine.

What are some of your favourite pieces in the Sherwood uniform and why? 

The Freedom Suit – it’s a full one-piece winter weather suit designed to keep the team cosy in our alpine elements, whether they are in the garden or reception. Also, the jumpsuit for women, crafted in beautiful linen, looks amazing on a variety of body shapes and is easy to wear. It is the perfect blend of Sherwood and New Lands. I also love the detailing, contrast topstitching, and the Sherwood logo of the tree embroidered onto each garment.

You’re a part of Mindful Fashion NZ. Can you share with us why this is important to you and what’s involved?  

Being part of Mindful Fashion NZ aligns with our commitment to sustainable and ethical choices. This group champions transparency, sustainability, and accountability within New Zealand’s fashion industry. We are dedicated to setting higher standards for production and environmental responsibility, which enhances the integrity of our local fashion scene. For us at New Lands, it is about being conscious of how we can improve with each step forward, advocating for changes that ensure a healthier planet and a fairer industry for workers and consumers alike, one step at a time.

In what ways does being based in Arrowtown influence the work you produce?

We are very seasonal here, so the knitwear is a big focus of our collections. I love having nature at our doorstep and feel less influenced by city vibes and culture. Our remote location enables to drum to our own beat and design with our intuition.  We are a small village with big energy.

Do you have any exciting projects in the works that you can tell us about?

Yes, there are a few that are bubbling away, still under wraps.

Who inspires you personally and professionally?

The older I become I adore when people’s true essence really shines, the quirks and the layers that make us unique is so much more interesting to me. I’m drawn to people for their realness and professionally it’s not too dissimilar. I love authentic connection and inspiration for me can be a feeling, a colour combination or when someone is comfortable in their own expression, that to me is inspiring…

Imagery: supplied. 


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