Behind the scenes with designer Leanne Greaves


What? Who? When? Where?

Leanne answers a few questions about what it's like to be a designer today,
what we have to look forward to for next season
and her favourite winter pieces. 

What do you think has changed in fashion since you started your business?
I think that social media has had the biggest effect on fashion globally, there a re now more influencers in fashion. There is also a push towards caring about where and how garments are produced for ethical and sustainable reasons.

Who's your favourite global fashion designer and why?
I love Haider Ackerman. His use of colour  and fabrics is unquestionably surperb.
How do you continually come up with fresh new ideas?
More like I can’t get them all out of my head and onto paper. Only to be somewhat frustrated by what fabrics are available. This often is the deciding factor as to what is economically viable.
What's your biggest inspiration?
Exploring different shapes, lengths and practical aspects of a garment.
What do you love most about your work?
Every day, is a new challenge and the creative process is exciting. When you see it all coming together, it’s a real sense of satisfaction.
Why have you chosen to do such a large range of sizes? 
New Zealand woman are constantly changing. Our medium size now is a 14/16. Styling has also changed a lot so sometimes garments are in a S, M L, XL. This combines two sizes together. I want to cater for every woman. 

What do you think your biggest point of difference is to other brands? 
Our styling is based around quite a few aspects; quality, comfort, serviceability. The sustainability and ethical nature of a garments manufacture.

What have we got to get excited about for the upcoming season?
Our S18/19 It’s a Good Day Collection is based around a feeling of Gratitude. A lot of the names of the dresses etc are phrased with a feeling in mind like ‘Smiles are Contagious Dress” or “Keep Looking for Sunshine Dress”. There is a lot of floaty, draping and off set angles to the styling.
Lovely printed floral chiffons, crisp optic white viscose crepe prints, drapey knits,  & fun layering pieces.

What's the story around the liann bellis name?  
Bellis is a previous surname
. As a child my father wanted my name spelt Lianne (the French way) and my Mother wanted Leanne as it is now. I was previously married and when I started my children’s clothing line in the 80’s the brand was called liann bellis. The liann had the "e" dropped in honour of my father and of course a spin-off of my real name at the time. Having been away from the clothing game for a while; I began to redo the children’s clothing until the recession hit and I decided to continue with liann bellis. Having changed to women’s clothing we simply kept the same name as a brand.

What is your favourite item of clothing in this winter fusion collection and why? 
I have just been loving the Alliance sweat pants and the beautiful Cashmere/ Wool knits as it has been a much colder winter this year so far.

What words of wisdom have you got for women buying fashion for spring/summer? 
Firstly it is most important to take the time to go through what you already have and sort out what to keep and what to eliminate. Find out what is missing when you have finished. Look to replace those items that you need then buy a few new fun highlights for the season. Sometimes changing a few accessories can make all the difference. It's important to think about these things before shopping otherwise we end up with too many clothes that aren't versatile. Not good on the pocket or on our environment.
What is the best advice you have ever got from your mother?
Find your passion and follow it. And it is thanks to her that I have.
What do you wish to bestow upon your daughter?  
Be true to yourself.