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Selwyn Times: May 31, 2016

18 Tuesday

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SELWYN TIMES Tuesday May 31 2016 19 Fashion Designer going the extra mile • By Emma-Jane McLennan WHEN EMMA Glasson was looking for a name for her label, she decided to go with something that meant a lot to her – Olessya. On the surface, it goes perfectly with the classic, romantic aesthetic of the brand – but for the designer, it is the Russian version of her name and a reminder of her past. “I was actually born in Russia, then adopted and brought up in New Zealand. When I was 16 I found out that my birth mother was a seamstress – which was crazy. Perhaps that’s where I’ve got my artistic tendencies from,” she said. Miss Glasson’s past is woven intrinsically into her clothing. As a small child she “always knew” she wanted to be a fashion designer. “When I was as young as seven or eight I was already making clothes and things. I would sew or even staple fabrics together to make garments for my teddies,” she said. As a child, she saw the industry as glamorous. Remembering, she laughs: “Now I know that its really hard work. There are definitely late nights and times when you have no life, but I love it.” Miss Glasson studied fashion at Massey University, but translating that into work was difficult, she said. “I was working as a bartender, which is obviously not what I wanted to do.” Her friend, Zara, was in the same boat. So they put their heads together and decided “this was it,” she said. “We thought, ‘why not start our own labels?’ It was very motivating to have a friend going through the same things, with DETAIL: Emma Glasson showing off garments in her at-home studio (left) and her clothing modelled by a friend (above). us both getting into the fashion world at the same time.” Miss Glasson took the leap and launched her brand in March last year. She works out of a home studio, and stocks stores such as The Collective, at the Colombo. Most of her clothing is readyto-wear, but she does take a lot of custom orders – such as a wedding dress she is currently sewing. She says it is “all about” going the extra mile. “It’s just little things, like I had a customer buy a dress a few weeks ago and she wanted it taken in a little – I did it for her free because it was over a certain price point and then delivered it to her home.” Her customer base is steadily growing, she’s learning about what women want to wear and growing her business smarts, she said. “It’s all about baby steps. People think I’m too young and naive sometimes – I’m 24 – but you’ve just got to go for it no matter what they think.” QUEENS BIRTHDAY WEEKEND SATURDAY 4 JUNE OPEN 10AM-5PM FREE CANDY STAND 11AM–3PM SUNDAY 5 JUNE OPEN 10AM-5PM MONDAY 6 JUNE OPEN 10AM-5PM HORNBY 409 Main South Road | OVER 50 STORES dress-smart.co.nz