Culture

Nike launches powerful all female zine with Holly Sarah Burgess feat. “unapologetic” Kiwi women

The Rise is here

If you hadn’t noticed, the Nike Cortez is making a comeback and to celebrate the relaunch of the street style shoe Nike have teamed up with rising New Zealand photographer (and regular Miss FQ contributor) Holly Sarah Burgess to create a badass all female zine dubbed ‘The Rise’.

The aim of the zine is to celebrate unapologetic females to inspire women to be who they want to be, do whatever it is that they want, and stand up for what they believe in. We want girls to aspire to be more than the shape of their body, more than their Instagram following, more than whoever it is that they’re dating and more than whatever box society put them in.

Working with an all girl crew from stylist and writer to designer and makeup artist, Miss FQ spoke to Holly and about her journey to create a self-published mag in collaboration with the forward-thinking sportswear brand.

Holly-Burgess

Miss FQTell me about the zine – what was the process, why has it been created and why did you choose these inspiring women?

Holly Sarah Burgess: “The zine was created as a part of the relaunch of the Nike Cortez. As a shoe, the Cortez is not definable, nor fixed in any particular time or place. It is both timeless and adaptable, allowing the wearer to express their style and personality. [Nike and I] thought what better way to relaunch the Cortez, than to celebrate women who embody this in their own unique ways. The title of this zine is ‘The Rise’ as all of these young women are rising. They are each powerfully carving out the spaces they are in with such raw, positive energy. They are unapologetic about being themselves and their creative energy is not confined to preconceived ideas placed on them by society. This is why these women were chosen.”

Why did this project resonate with you so much?

“Because the zine is a platform to celebrate young creative women. It was an absolute privilege to be able to work with such an amazing bunch, and to create a space for them to express themselves wholly as who they are. I also loved this project because I, like them, am a young woman on a journey of growth and coming into myself, so I felt like we were all a part of the same thing. We all connected in this way. I also lead a very active lifestyle, so working with Nike as well as these women the my ideal space for my creative energy to flow through the lens.”

What has been the coolest part of working on the Nike zine?

“Working with other creative women, both those I photographed, as well as the team behind the scenes. The shoots gave me so much life, especially being able to be in the presence of such awesome energy. We were dancing, singing, laughing, and just hanging out like one big family, and the connections we made will extend well beyond this project.”

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For those who haven’t had the absolute pleasure of observing your work before, can you explain what it is you aim to achieve with your fashion photography?

“Whenver I’m shooting I try and capture the person’s personality and energy. Photography for me is more than just a surface image; I want you to feel the subject’s strong powerful presence and energy and to have that translate off the page or screen. That especially rings true with this project where it’s about the power of the person wearing the shoes, opposed to just the shoes themselves.”

How do you like to style your Cortez?

“I like to style my Cortez how they are styled in the zine, a little bit structured and clean like the studio shots, and a little bit street. As pictured in the zine, you’ll find me pairing my Cortez with a tailored blazer and vintage denim!”

(L-R): Katherine Lowe, Zoe Hobbs, Rebe Burgess, Julie Adams, Shakaiah, Jahra, JessB, Elora Norman, Makanaka

(L-R): Katherine Lowe, Zoe Hobbs, Rebe Burgess, Julie Adams, Shakaiah Perez, Jahra Rager, JessB, Elora Norman, Makanaka Tuwe


Next, we spoke to the epic women in the zine to gauge who they are, what they stand for and to show you why this inspirational publication is worth getting your hands on…

Miss FQ: How does fashion represent your personality?

Makanaka Tuwe: “I dress how I feel. As a result of that, I don’t really have a particular style of anything. If I am feeling royal, you will see a head wrap and bomb as earrings. If I am feeling bossy, it will be a crop top and thigh high boots. If I am feeling bad, it will be fur. The best part about being a woman is that I see getting dressed as dressing up; you can literally explore so many looks and play around with them.”

Rebe Burgess: “Fashion encompasses everything I do. It’s my main form of expression; what I wear is largely determined by how I’m feeling or what I’m wanting to achieve that day. I think fashion is so important in representing identity. I’m so drawn to street style, especially at the various fashion weeks. Outfit choices are always bold, daring and full of individuality and personality! I’m obsessed!”

What do you want for women in the world? 

Jahra Rager: “What I dream of for woman is for them to become fully realised, in their own way and for themselves, which in turn benefits and changes their communities. One of the most magnificently potent transformations is when a woman begins to converse with the many women/stories/voices she holds within her form. This is when she begins to understand, surrender to and master the relationship between her own devastation and divinity. There is power there. I believe a woman fully realised is a woman fully equipped. ”

What are you more than and what do you want to be?

Katherine Lowe: “I’m more than just my race. I think it’s easy for people to take one look at a person and presume a bunch of things, especially so when it comes to race. What do I want to be? I want to be a good person, whatever that is.”

What do you think defines YOU?

Shakaiah Perez: “The ancestral linkages that run through my blood and the melanin that bleeds in my DNA. My connection to my culture and the magic that exists in our spaces. The gifts that were given down to heal my people and to restore what was taken. The love I have for dance and the arts and how it has been a part of my life since I can remember. These things are a small insight to what defines who I am and what I am about.”

Elora Norman: “I don’t think I have reached a definition yet. I’m not sure if people ever do reach definitive conclusions and I don’t think they have to, but I think my energy defines me. I am a moody moody girl and I have always carried with me the ability to channel exactly how I am feeling, and it’s quite an encompassing experience and it radiates. My attitude towards life is something I wear everywhere, and by this I mean I try not to take anything too seriously. This isn’t always a beneficial trait but it is something I feel so strongly about, kinda just being about who you are as honestly as possible, because being real will draw in the right people and it’s worked well for me so far. My love for dogs defines me, my passion for a good coffee, a good meal and a good clear blue sky defines me. But I think my honesty defines me, maybe the most.”

How did your upbringing and experiences from your childhood shape the kind of person you are today? Did you ever face adversity?

JessB: “I am of Kenyan descent but grew up in New Zealand with my Pakeha family. Although I never would have wanted to grow up any other way, I spent a lot of my childhood and especially through my teen years struggling with my own identity and self-worth, really not liking who I was and the skin I was born in. I found myself often caught feeling like I fit neither here nor there. This is a common feeling for mixed children from all kinds of backgrounds, and can be extremely isolating. I am also an only child and so I didn’t have siblings to relate to or share experiences with in this way either.

“Music has been one of the areas of my life that has helped me learn to love myself the way I am. Because I didn’t grow up with anyone around me who completely knew my experience as a mixed child in a country with very little African influence, rap and hip hop in particular allowed me to see people that looked like me and were cool and beautiful and talented. These were people that I wasn’t seeing on my TV, at the park on the weekends, or in my school. I am very much still on this journey, but I now realise that being different and standing out isn’t always easy – but it can be equally as rewarding.”

What do you believe in?

Julie Adams: “Everything happens for a reason. You can either grow from experiences or dwell on them. It’s up to you how you live your life.”

What are you unapologetic for?

Zoe Hobbs: “The desire to achieve my dreams of one day racing for New Zealand at the Commonwealth and Olympic Games. To some this may seem impossible because New Zealand isn’t a country renowned for sprinting success on the world stage. This motivates me more and makes me want to break the generalised norm surrounding this common idea and belief with sprinting in New Zealand.”

The Rise zine is now available for your reading pleasure in Auckland cafes, online here and at Loaded and Area 51 stores (where you can also get a pair of Cortez!)

Photos: Holly Sarah Burgess | @hsburg
Words: Skye Ross
Interview questions: Skye Ross and Madeleine Walker

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