In 2020, a big trend on international runways was "blanket dressing"’. In an apt reflection of our often duvet-clad lockdown times, and maybe a protective layer against the stress of them, designers dressed models in all kinds of wraps, oversized scarves and capes that often looked like they had been literally swiped off the bed on the way out of the house.
For winter 2022, New Zealand label Ovna Ovich has released an update on blanket dressing that arguably involves much more care, structure and finesse – a limited edition run of made-to-order jackets, crafted from repurposed vintage ‘70s woollen blankets.
While she’s now Auckland-based, the label’s founder and designer Marina Davis grew up in the South Island’s Toko Mouth – a small village south of Dunedin. “I feel very connected to [that] land and feel very lucky to have grown up in such beautiful isolation without tar-sealed roads, streetlights, or shops – just a few cribs, wide-open green spaces and a backdrop of the wild Pacific,” she says. “Being positioned at the bottom of the world, a woollen blanket was always a winter necessity and as a child, I would never go anywhere without my woollen 'blankie'.”
Over the span of a few weeks, Davis came across several woollen blankets in the vintage and charity stores that surround her centrally located studio on Karangahape Road. Inspired by the winter emblem of her upbringing, and in keeping with the sustainable ethos she’s centred on since starting her label, she decided to repurpose them into one-off jackets. The jackets are part of a collection called Chapter 17 – Renaissance. “I wanted to work with the idea of making use of the past and adding to it, to make a new whole.”
Boxy and slightly cropped, the silhouette of the jackets was updated from a past Ovna Ovich style to be more detailed, yet also more relaxed and fit-flexible.
The handmade ceramic buttons are also part of the one-off, old-meets-new philosophy. Each jacket features a mixture of buttons left over from a previous collaboration with Wellington-based ceramicist Wundaire, and newly made buttons by another local ceramicist, Saskia Nicol.
The Chapter 17 – Renaissance jackets are available for pre-order now, and for purchase from 15 June.