What was the commission? How were you approached?
I got an email from Creative Director, James Gurr who was familiar with my work. He talked about the new Ozone project in Auckland and how they were in need of uniforms. The initial email talked about this idea of a unisex jacket that could also be worn buttoned up as a shirt and an apron, and immediately I could visualise it. That’s kind of my litmus test for whether I should take on a project…. If I close my eyes, can I visualise it? And immediately I could see the cafe, I could see the people working in it, and I could see the team gliding around in these uniforms (also, a lot of my designs are completely genderless, so the idea of a unisex uniform was a dream project). So – of course, I jumped at the opportunity!
How did you curate the designs – what gave you inspo?
When I started thinking about this unisex shirt/ jacket my first thought was a light cotton voile shirt we’d made a few seasons prior that my boyfriend and I, and many of my friends, wore OBSESSIVELY. It was just a super oversized, boxy shape design with very utilitarian gusseted pockets.
I really wanted to ensure the shirt/ jacket was super functional for the staff with plenty of pockets for their order pads, pens etc. We tweaked the scale, making it slightly less oversized, a little shorter, with a shorter and wider sleeve. I really wanted the uniforms to feel relaxed and not too uptight. This idea carried on to small details like putting a tag in the garment that says “JIMMY D SAYS WORK HARD AND PLAY HARD”. I thought that if I could put a smile on someone’s face while they’re getting ready for work, this little feel good moment could be passed on to a customer, ya’ know?
For the apron – again, I didn’t want anything that felt too starchy or uptight. I play a lot with volume and drape, so I wanted this to be translated into the apron. I loved the idea of the staff gliding around the cafe with fabric billowing or trailing behind them. Essentially, the apron is a very simple shape that’s quite square at the front, contrasted with back straps that cross over and create subtle draping.
What’s in store next?
We’re working on adding some fun Jimmy D touches into the Ozone uniforms with sporty Jimmy D x Ozone socks and pins that will add a little dark humour to the uniform – just another way to make the person wearing the uniform add their own personality to the look – ‘cos a uniform shouldn’t mean uniformity!