Jun 20, 2013 4:11PM

Oyster Fashion: Thistle Brown x Zara Mirkin x Rene Vaile

Meet our favourite new up-and-coming NZ designer.

It's hard to describe someone as mesmerising as Thistle Brown. He's like a cross between David Bowie and that girl who walks into a room and everyone holds their breathe at her beauty. I remember the first time I met him — he should feel lucky as I can't say that about most people, or, actually, I'm the lucky one to have the honour of knowing someone so damn fabulous. He was that kid from up north in Kamo, Whangarei, he had just gotten back from travelling the world and had moved to Auckland, New Zealand, to study fashion and textiles.

Over the past few years I have watched him grow from a kid to a total muse of many. He always without fail looks cooler than any rock star ever did. He's charming, beautiful, big-hearted, an incredible dancer, and a hard worker. And his clothes — they are wild. His love for fabric is so romantic, as is he. You can even see a piece of his latest collection in the current US Vogue, so you know it's good. Luckily for us he is in his last year at university, which means shortly we can watch him take the world by storm.

We caught up with the 21-year-old one to watch.

Zara Mirkin: What do you do?
Thistle Brown: I'm a textile designer and Fashion Editor. 

How have you ended up where you are today?
Long nights, great friends and an awesome mum.
Tell us about Flagship [Thistle's home and work space]: 
It's a multidisciplinary studio space that a group of my friends founded for design and art purposes. Since then, it has transformed into a space that has hosted music events, fashion presentations, shoots and music videos. 
What was it like growing up in a small town up north being how you are?
Hmm it was interesting... I felt like a cliché martian for most of it but like all small towns it taught me one thing — to get out. I think my confidence grew from the rebellion of boredom. 
What were you like as a teenager? 
Still skinny, but short and kinda looked like Justin Bieber but prettier.
Most life changing moment?
I'm not to sure how one measure that until you die? I suppose moving overseas straight out of Kamo High opened my eyes up a lot.
What's the most important thing to you about living life everyday? 
Eliminate the unnecessary to observe the unexpected.
To continue collaborating with people who I admire, to be in a position to travel, and to have a potential cameo on Game of Thrones.
Out of everything you work on — styling, modeling, making clothes etc — what makes you feel the most creatively satisfied? 
I'm most satisfied when I'm on a roll with either design or editing, and when the idea finally clicks and everything makes sense in its place.
Tell me about your fabric...
I like to distort traditional constructs of knitwear by experimenting with form, shape and illusion of pattern, surface and colour. The ultimate result being a kind of pseudo knitwear for the post-physical world.
Who is your muse?
Lili Sumner — she is a great friend and gal.
Favourite song to dance to? 
'Smalltown Boy' by Bronksi Beat.
Bowie or Mick?
Mick for brunch, Bowie for dinner.
Where do you hope to be in ten years time?
Creatively directing something big. 
Photography: Rene Vaile
Fashion & Words: Zara Mirkin
Hair: Matt Benns @ Stephen Marr
Models: Sarah Stephens @ 62, Ella Verberne @ Clyne, Lili Sumner @ Red11, Shannon Cook @ RPD