Since 2008, DMONIC INTENT has been a labour of love for this family of designer sisters Samara Wooldridge (second right), Maxine (right), Kris Leitch and her partner Joe Walker(left). The design team have produced two collections and a fine jewellery line that has kept them busy in the lead up to next week’s New Zealand Fashion Week.
In their second year at NZFW, DMONIC INTENT will showcase their 'Heaven Bleeds Black' collection after having won the Avant Garde section of the Miromoda awards, as well as their collection 'EIGHT' for the New Generation Show on September 5.
We chat to DMONIC INTENT fashion designer Maxine Wooldridge for our fashion fix.
MSN: What draws you to Fashion Week?
Maxine: The opportunity to expose our work to an international audience. That and the fact that it's New Zealand's biggest event dedicated to our chosen field. It’s definitely the 'place to be' if you're thinking about a career in fashion.
MSN: What has been your design inspiration this year?
Maxine:Definitely the Poutama pattern. It actually inspired both collections that will feature at Fashion Week this year. Poutama or 'Stairway to Heaven' symbolises the growth of man and his journey towards self improvement and betterment. To us, it also represents determination, the quest for success and rising to the top.
MSN: How did you and your sisters realise you could work together?
Maxine: Well we grew up together and did everything together anyway. We were all working and studying in different areas eight years ago when we started coming up with t-shirt prints. It was fun and we knew, as a group, that we had something special. But it wasn't until 2008 that we bit the bullet and jumped straight into it.
MSN: Do the four of you get along all the time?
Maxine: Definitely not . We are your typical family. Every one of us has an opinion and we've all got big mouths. We're not scared to voice what we are thinking to each other, which we think is a good thing because it eliminates drama. If one of us is in a stink, we get over it pretty quickly because we can't avoid each other. On the flip side though, we have so much fun together. Everything is hilarious when we are together and we'd do anything for one another.
MSN: It sounds like you’ve got a great vibe going between you all. What’s it like working with each other?
Maxine: Joe [Walker] can't work around us girls, so we take the garage and he sets up inside. When we work we are either blasting music really loud or have episodes of Jersey Shore on repeat. We're addicted to it…us girls, that is! Another habit my sisters and I have – we call it a “talent” - involves changing the lyrics to songs to fit whatever it is we're doing at the time. That and quoting lines from movies - it actually get ridiculous sometimes. We can waste a good hour or so acting out entire scenes from movies.
MSN: What did you parents and/or friends think of the collaboration?
Maxine: I think they just thought it was normal. We were together all the time anyway so working together was completely natural and made a lot of sense. Everyone knew that we were all creative. They probably made that connection before we even figured it out.
MSN: Do you all have the same sense of style or do you ‘blend’ your different style sensibilities?
Maxine: We all have a different style but at the same time have a common sense of style. We enjoy different colours, textures and silhouettes but we have one customer in mind. Women with no fear. Women who want to stand out and are completely secure in their own skin. We don't dress wallflowers. We dress strong, confident, uncompromising women who want to stand out.
MSN: How’d you come up with the name DMONIC INTENT?
Maxine: We wanted a name that reflected our own personalities and that of our customers. Everybody has demonic intentions every now and then. The biggest mistake people can make is assuming, once they hear our name, that they know what we do and how we do it. DMONIC INTENT is an attitude, not a religion. A lot of people have actually told us that they love our stuff but can't be associated with what they think our name represents. For them it's too risky. We are willing to take that risk and it's not something we're going to change, despite advice from others. Changing the name would completely go against everything DMONIC INTENT stands for: having certain intentions and following through.
MSN: Are each of you responsible for different aspects of the design process?
Maxine:Yes, we work mainly in pairs. Me and Kris make the clothes, while Joe and Sam make the fine jewellery. We all have other jobs too. We make a lot of accessories and hats and then there is the business side of things. When it comes to designing, it is really difficult to try and please four people though. There's a lot of arguing, compromise, back to arguing then we eventually sort it out. As a collective our strengths would probably be standing by what we do and designing clothing that we want to see on others, no matter how "un–wearable" it may be.
The Miromoda Show will be on Friday September 7 at the Viaducts Events Centre.