Why Olivia Cashmore’s new collection is her best one yet

Why Olivia Cashmore’s new collection is her best one yet

In conversation with Olivia Cashmore on her confident new collection, Quality over Deadlines.

Olivia Cashmore. Image: supplied.

Good things take time, as the saying goes, and Olivia Cashmore’s latest collection serves as a compelling embodiment of this truth. Despite the apparent quietude on the brand’s Instagram page in recent months, the reality reveals a deliberate pause as Cashmore took the time to crystallise her label’s creative vision moving forward. Today, that vision materialised with the unveiling of her fifth eponymous collection, ‘Quality over Deadlines’. With more than a year having gone by since the release of her previous collection, this release serves as a much-needed dose of sartorial inspiration to those of us who had been feeling her absence. 

Before launching her independent label in mid-2021, the designer spent years designing for fellow Kiwi brand Maggie Marilyn, and after two years solo it appears that Cashmore’s aesthetic is more confident and defined than ever. Quality over Deadlines serves as an homage to the busy modern woman, characterised by its crisp tailoring, luscious fabrics and timeless silhouettes – each crafted to be worn for years to come. 

Prior to the collection’s launch online today, FQ had the privilege of sitting down with Cashmore. Below, she shares insight into her personal journey, the muses that fuel her creativity, and the positivity in taking a pause.

Q&A with designer Olivia Cashmore

Tell us a bit about you and your fashion background.

For as long as I can remember, I have always loved clothes. My parents tell me that as a young girl I would lay their clothes out for them in the mornings and would even include their accessories and undergarments. Always detail oriented.

I started sewing when I was 11 years old and from there my passion grew and grew. During my studies at university I worked for New Zealand label Taylor Boutique gaining knowledge in sales, customer service, production and sampling. After graduating, I worked at Maggie Marilyn, starting off in production and ending in design.

I had always dreamed of having my own business one day (although I didn’t think it would be this soon), and so here I am today. It’s not without its fair share of challenges, but I am having lots of fun seeing it grow.

Congratulations on your beautiful new collection! Could you please tell us a bit more
about it and the inspiration behind it?

Thank you so much. I stumbled upon these beautiful images of parachutes that were used in an art exhibition. They were light, whimsical and delicate, but enabled a person to fly. That inspired me to use sheer fabrics paired with strong tailored silhouettes. To my mind, reflecting the contrast between the lightness of a parachute yet its ability to hold a person. Delicate yet strong.

How long has it been since you’ve launched a collection? Talk us through the process and what your challenges were.

The last collection I launched was this time last year – Summer 22/23. This year I have been recutting my most popular styles only. At the end of 2022 when I sat down to design Winter for this year, I was already feeling the underlying pressure to produce a collection. I decided to allow myself the space and time to produce pieces that are worthy to be made. The result is this new collection, however all the pieces will continue to be available as the start of OC staples.

On the topic of your collection’s title ‘Quality over Deadlines’ – what made you call it that and what significance does this name hold for you?

It’s hard to avoid the sense of ‘trying to keep up’ because of course you need stock to sell but I was cautious of rushing styles through just for the sake of it. Hence the name Quality over Deadlines. This collection feels like such a homecoming for me, in the sense that OC has a clear design direction. I decided to take my time to ensure it is of quality and worth, not just to me but for the customer.

Do you have a muse for this collection? Who’s someone you’d love to see wearing it?

Is it bad if I say myself?! I wouldn’t offer my customers anything I wouldn’t be happy wearing.

But Christine Centenera (Fashion Director of Vogue Australia) has always inspired me. I first started
following her when I was in high school. I had never seen someone style outfits the way she did
(does), such an epic combination of casual and formal. I used to try and recreate her outfits with
pieces I had in my wardrobe! One day, I’d love to see her in some of my pieces.

What’s your favourite piece from the collection? And why do you love it?

The Willimena Dress hands down. Shout out to my brilliant pattern maker for bringing my sketch to life. This style for me encapsulates the brand’s aesthetic beautifully. An elegant, timeless piece with a twist. The drape is strategically placed to create an hourglass silhouette which is flattering and sexy. I can’t wait to wear this piece with a pair of flats and heels.

How would you describe this collection in three words?

Uncompromising, eternal, exquisite.

In what ways has your brand identity or vision evolved since you began your label?

This collection expresses confidence in the brand’s direction. It epitomises how I describe the brand ‘classic silhouettes combine the luxurious nonchalance of precise masculine tailoring with the comfort and wearability of feminine ease’.

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