Teresa Hodges

I found myself having a sneak preview of next season’s Blak collection recently.

Blak founder and designer Teresa Hodges will be speaking at the Business Women’s Network Conference in May, and I couldn’t wait to see her collection.

The range is exciting, with so much variety.

Amongst them are a bangled zigzag zebra stripe print, crops, and a marigold lace dress with a scalloped hem that’s slim-lined with an almost 1920s  feel to it.

“They’re very classic shapes,” says Blak founder and designer Teresa Hodges. “The marigold dress slims over the body, but it isn’t super-tight. If you wear it to an event, it’s not fussy but you’re going to stand out because of the colour and the lace.”

Teresa introduces a new exclusive print each season, working with selected artists. The next collection features an emerald and navy print.

There’s a little pin-striped power suit, a shirt with an inverted pleat in the sleeve, a cotton anglaise with a large spot, with linens, cottons and whites looking strong for next summer, giving off an Italian feel.

“This time, I really wanted the stencil feeling for the print, and a spot with a more painterly finish,” says Teresa. “I aim to break down the clothing collections to every aspect of our life, so the Basics range is about the weekend and being casual and  comfortable.

“The Luxe range is a little bit of ‘work’ and a little bit of ‘event’, while the Love range is in between, where you’re going out for a coffee - not dressing up so much, but tidy.”

Some of her top sellers have gone into the new Bridesmaids collection.

“Bridesmaids is a massive growth area,” says Teresa. “Business is all about: ‘What’s the next step? How do I grow this? We started with wholesale, then got into retail, do we open another store?’ “With some of our manufacturing in Bali, it’s really amazing what we can offer brides. They can come through and choose the dresses for their girls, then decide on fabrics and colour or any style with all colours matching, or all different colours. We can dye small batches and do custom colours for them.”

In the lead up to each new collection, it’s all about the design.

“I use a lot of space, and have all the fabric and buttons out,” she says. “It’s all in front of me, and very visual.”

She travels to Bali after creating the patterns here, shopping for more fabric, sourcing models, meeting with the photographer and looking for locations.

“We usually do two shoots when I’m there - the Instagram shoot, which is used for our campaigns, and the look book shoot.”

The last shoot was in a Bali hotel with art deco furniture and models caught in the amber light.

Selling online and wholesaling to 22 shops around New Zealand, Blak also runs two retail stores - one in Newmarket and the other a collaboration store at the Mount with Chaos & Harmony.  

“With focusing on more boutique, we can create more styles,” says Teresa.

“I design in three seasons, but we’re dropping every month.”

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