Rosie Ackland is the founder and head designer of local New Zealand it-girl brand, Beach Knickers. Starting with cute bikinis back in the summer of 2015, she has recently branched into ready-to-wear clothing featuring romantic dresses, delightful blouses and classic linen t-shirts. Fashion Assistant Jess Thomson caught up Rosie to discuss all things Beach Knickers and what exciting projects she has planned for the future.
Jess: Can you start by telling us what Rose Acklands story is?
Rosie: Well… I was born on September the 11th 1994, at home in a house in Devonport. I grew up with three brothers and my sister Gracie. We moved to Tauranga when I was two and lived on an orchard with lots of room to play huts and keep pets. I started getting into fashion from a young age, my parents are both creative, artistic and dad is very musical. I feel so blessed to have grown up in a creative household. Mum taught me how to sew and my school friends still tease me that I would stay at home on the weekends to sew things with my mum, but I’m glad I did! I got pretty into Tumblr when I was a young teen but deleted it when I was about 17, total regrets. I used to do photo shoots on our orchard and don’t have any of those photos anymore. I didn’t know I was going to study until the end of year 13, I only applied for AUT and the rest is to be continued in these following answers…
You studied fashion at AUT – what has your journey been like from graduating to where you are now with your own label?
After Graduating I moved home for the summer, tried to go with the tides and I ended up making bikinis for fun. At the time, all the swimwear I was seeing was all the same and I wanted something cute that I felt comfortable in. I started it for fun and to keep my creative hands busy but I ended up making bikinis all summer! I moved back to Auckland to work in retail and earn some money to put into this project, I decided to go all in on this brand and have been living in Tauranga for the last six months to focus on Beach Knickers. The journey has been a lot of moving around, learning things that they don’t teach you at Uni and having no money!
How long has Beach Knickers been going for and how did it all begin?
It’s been around for just over a year but I started working on it full time six months ago. During uni I never expected to become a designer or start my own label, I imagined myself styling or working in film. It’s all happened from a really creative place and I get this itchy feeling most days to create.
Where did the name Beach Knickers come from?
Such a random name, but it’s stuck! I love brainstorming names for things and this just came from what the togs literally looked like to me; knickers for the beach!
Your brand aesthetic is so beautiful – where do you draw inspiration for your designs from?
I do a lot of op shopping and vintage searching on Etsy. Most of my inspiration comes from vintage clothing, old movies, my environment and my childhood.
Can you tell us about your new AW17 range?
The Autumn ’17 range was my first go at making day wear for Beach Knickers. I wanted to make all the things I was missing in my wardrobe and exactly what I felt like wearing.
What challenges have you faced as a new designer?
Having no money! And getting a job in the industry is hard if you have your own label on the side, I have been turned down from jobs because I have a brand myself. It frustrates me because how are you supposed to learn if you can’t work in the industry?
What advice would you give any fashion grad who is trying to make a path for themselves or their own label?
Who are your muses?
I love Jane Birkin, Brigitte Bardot, Elle Fanning, Alexa Chung, Sienna Miller, Jeanne Damas and my friends! I won’t name names but they are all pretty special muses.
What are your favourite pieces in the range?
I love the Blossom dress! The Florence Blouse is a go-to and the linen tees are pretty delightful.
What kind of woman wears Beach Knickers?
Any woman! I want anyone at any age to feel inspired and comfortable to wear Beach Knickers.
Coming into winter, what are your top tips for creating the perfect winter ensemble?
I like accessories. Hats are great because they hide your hair if it’s raining or windy. Silk scarfs lift an outfit and are cosy around your neck.
What is on your current wish list?
Oooh. I’m after some fun trainers for running errands in. Pixi Glow Tonic, and I am wanting some new sunnies but haven’t found the perfect pair yet.
What does your ideal weekend consist of?
Seeing my boyfriend, having dinner with some friends on Saturday night, a trip to Savemart and a Sunday drive to nowhere in particular.
What are your three favorite items you own?
Such a hard question! Probably my tan suede almost famous coat that I bought off a lady who sold vintage in Devonport. One of my basket bags that I use everyday and my mum’s old Olympus film camera.
Five beauty products you can’t live without?
- Lip balm. I’m using Burt’s Bees at the moment
- Environ Moisturiser
- Eleven Miracle Hair Treatment
- The Skin Kitchen Hemp and Argan Organic Face Oil
- Mario Badescu Drying Lotion
Do you have any exciting plans/ranges/projects coming up that you can share with us?
Yes! I can’t wait to share my winter and spring Beach Knickers range and the photo shoots that go along with a new range. I also have a few stockists lined up so people will be able to buy in person!
Where do you see your brand in five years and in 10 years?
At the moment I have a three year plan… I want to listen to my customers this summer and provide a range of swimwear that everyone will enjoy. Possibly jazz up the website. I am looking forward to 2018 and would love to share a few ideas for bridesmaid and wedding dresses and work with people for their special occasions. I guess the goal is to just be around for the next five-10 years, if I still have this opportunity to create clothes then I’ll be happy.
What do you love most about what you do?
I love working for myself and being creative everyday. I love when customers email or message me about their purchase or even better when they send photos of them wearing it! It makes all the labor worth it 100%.