I have Pebbles Hooper to thank for first alerting me to Areez Katki. New Zealand fashion royalty (Hooper is the daughter of World co-founders Denise L'Estrange-Corbet and Francis Hooper), the Auckland hipster was rocking one of Katki's very distinctive hand-knitted dresses on Day One of Air New Zealand Fashion Week. I TwitPic'd a shot, only to spot another ANZFW delegate wearing a similar dress the following day. Although not officially part of the event, Katki seemed to be omnipresent at it. When I learned that his work had been given pride of place for the week in the front window of James Dobson's cool three month-old Children of Vision store in St Kevin's Arcade, I headed to take some shots and have a chat (albeit one with crapola picture/sound - but you get the gist).
Comparisons to Michelle Jank seem obvious here.
In 2000, Jank became the first designer to be accorded a solo show at Australian Fashion Week straight out of design college and she was buoyed by media hype.
Many Australians would recall the anecdote of leading British retailer Joan Burstein being so excited by Jank's debut collection of "demi couture" vintage doily-festooned dresses, Burstein raced backstage to secure an international exclusive, leaving her handbag on her chair.
In the interview I mention that Jank had trouble producing garments after the initial rush. My apologies, that should in fact have been, Jank had trouble selling the garments, some of which had high four figure price points. It later emerged that Burstein had not sold a single dress.
Katki's price points do not seem particularly high - under NZ$1000 for example for a one-off dress.
A designer himself (under the Jimmy D label) Dobson, pictured below, clearly has a good eye for emerging brands. Children of Vision is a great little store.