Featured Designer: Neckachief

FK talks to Amanda from her unisex label, Neckachief

Introduce us to your label, Neckachief.
Neckachief is a new unisex label with a unique approach to neck warmers. The “Neckachief” (not to be mistaken for Neckerchief) is a little scarf that buttons up around the neck and décolletage. They come in a variety of colours and prints to suit whatever type of mood you’re in. Fitting nicely under a Coat or Jacket, the Neckachief throws a bit of colour and fun into your winter outfit.

I first created the design back in 2003 but the label ‘Neckachief’ has only been around for 2 years. I have my awesome friends to thank for encouraging me to give it a go. The design has been refined since 2003 with requests from my snowboarding pals to make the lining toastier, the size bigger and the prints CRAZY weird. The latest request is for a pocket to store your cash or keys. We’ll see where that takes the brand next year.

We read you used to study ceramics! Can you tell us more about your creative background and how it lead to where you are today.
Yeah I majored in ceramics for my fine arts degree at the National Art School (NAS). I’ve always loved getting down and dirty with my hands. It was a very interesting thing to study and practice. At one point you’re thinking about what artistic message you want to portray. Then on the other hand you need to get your science hat on and figure out what glaze, clay and firing techniques to use.

I also studied drawing at NAS, which was definitely my favourite subject. Life drawing in particular was my preferred subject matter. The human body has so many beautiful shapes and puzzles. It’s quite a hypnotic process piece all the forms together and apply them to a page with a piece of charcoal.

Art School didn’t really lead to Neckachief. But it did give me the creative discipline needed to create my vision. I still love drawing and often sketch out new ideas. But as for ceramics, unfortunately I don’t practice it much these days. The logistics of a ceramics studio are a little too full on for me. And I’m now more concerned fashion items and current trends then clay.

What do you find challenging about having your own label?
It can get quite lonely sometimes. I work full time during the week which ends up meaning Neckachief time is usually on a Friday or Saturday night. It’s hard to tell your friends “no I can’t come out tonight. I’ve got a mountain of sewing to get through!” Thankfully I’ve got very supportive friends, who understand my commitments to my label. I wouldn’t be able to do it without their encouragement, help and talent. Most of them are featured as Neckachief models on site.

What inspires your creativity?
Everything! I feel like a sponge most days sucking in anything new. I go to markets, music festivals, art galleries, shop online, read art books and collect underground magazines. If you were to drop me in a fabric shop I’d be lost for days! But I think what really inspires me is seeing what other people are doing. Understanding other artist’s creative visions gives me perspective on my own vision.

What is your workspace like, and what motivates you?
My work space is a sunroom off my bedroom. I’ve got a huge desk that runs the width of the room.  With a big wall covered in little postcards, images and random bits and bobs for inspiration. I’ve also have a photo of One Tree Hill (in Auckland) to remind me of my Grandad. Whenever I feel like I’m losing momentum I think about him and all the amazing things he’s achieved in his life. Then it’s off to get a cup and tea and back into work.

Whats the plans for Neckachief in the future?
Well Neckachief will still be rocking the same styles, but I’m going to try a few more fabrics next season. Denim and extra pockets will get a feature. There will also been some hand printed one offs. And I’m going to try and work on creating a design for kid Neckachiefs. Also, I’ll be committing to more market stalls this year. Hopefully Finders Keepers again and Magnolia Square in Melbourne.


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