What is your youngest memory of developing a true feel for your own fashion taste?
I fell into the fashion industry at a very early age. My older sister is a stylist, so from around the age of nine I was trailing after her to shoots, sourcing appointments and stuffing fashion week envelopes for pocket money.
This was my first “oh I love this, I want to be a part of this world” moment.
I quickly developed my personal fashion taste in my first year of University in Wellington. It introduced me to androgynous style and it absolutely captivated me - oversized shirting with exaggerated collars, suiting, drop seam XXL t-shirts and layers of black silks. I still reach for these the most, they’re timeless and you can truly go from morning to night, with the add on of a lip or a slick bun.
With the likes of Zambesi, Service Depot and Caughley in their prime, I would trawl around, touching all the materials and daydreaming about the day I could afford to buy them.
When I was 19 I used my entire course related costs allowance (oops) to buy a pair of vintage Prada shoes from Hunters and Collectors. I’ll tell you right now, it was worth it, despite living on ‘Mi Goreng’ for 12 days straight.
It looks like you have done SO much in the fashion space, while still being in your mid twenties. What has been the highlight of your career so far?
It all started when I bought a sh*ty film camera on TradeMe in my second year of uni. I would send emails out to modelling agencies, asking if they had any ‘development’ models I could shoot for free - in exchange for the images.
I would pack a suitcase full of my own wardrobe, to dress them in street style and photograph on campus.. in the smokers area actually.
I should note that I am about five foot tall, so almost every photo was barefoot or they were wearing oversized shirt, with no pants because - nothing ever fit. It was pretty hilarious, but looking back I’d say even this was a highlight because it was how it all began for me. Just taking the plunge, connecting with like minded people and having that moment where the agencies gave me a shot.
Then in my final year of study, I reached out to everyone I could find who was working in fashion abroad and managed to secure an internship at Australian Vogue.
I knew one person that lived in Sydney, packed a bag and moved with about a weeks notice. I worked seven days a week (five of them unpaid). It was incredibly hard, but the most amazing experience.The celebrities and fashion legends - like Peta Chau, Christine Centenera and Kate Darvill. It would probably be one of the most exhilarating career moments.
Special mentions would follow with flying to Melbourne to photograph AU Fashion Week and the range of freelance work I have had the opportunity to do.
We have been following your book review Instagram account for a while. Tell us about this and how it came to be?
I have always been a classified bookworm. We never had normal TV growing up and were only allowed to watch movies on Friday nights after school. My mum is a huge reader and books were the one thing we could always count on her agreeing to buy. I started ‘less boys more books’ as a fun way to log everything I was reading.
I guess other people enjoyed it too as I have just over a thousand members now.
I have met so many cool people - all ages and genders from various pockets of the world. I think there needs to be a balance between Tik Tok (which is great) and escape reality by discussing literature or podcasts with like minded strangers.
My current must reads, that I can’t not plug are: Greta and Valdin by New Zealand author Rebbeca K Reilly and Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason.
You absolutely radiate confidence, have you always been like this? We’d love for you to share your secret sauce with our community..
Haha, I have been yes.
From a very young age I was extremely loud and constantly in trouble for talking too much and distracting everyone around me. Despite always being very confident, I struggle a lot with anxiety.Me at 20.. spent so much time agonising over being ‘too much’, worrying about what other people thought of me. This caused some defensive and destructive behaviour.
I feel very at peace now, which has been freeing in accepting who I am.
Surrounding myself with kind, loving, like minded people and realising that not all friendships last forever - it’s okay to outgrow people and put yourself first where needed. I wish 20-year-old Phoebe realised this.
What do you always have on you when going to work, or popping out for drinks with the girls and what are some things you will always carry in your handbag?
Easy - a blazer with pockets and comfortable shoes. I have been living in Birkenstock clogs for years and can’t see that ever changing.
My bag always has to have hair ties. I can't stand having my hair in my face so the option to put it in a bun is a must.
Then a lighter, my wallet, face mask and AirPods - I listen to podcasts or audio books 24/7 throughout the day so these are essential.
I also keep a Cuironoir pocket perfume and hairbrush on hand in case I go for last minute after work drinks, after a long day in the studio.