Meet the woman behind Oosterom

By Nadia Shaw-Owens

Nicole Hadfield’s label Oosterom, pronounced oh-stir-om, pays sweet homage to her late grandmother, and talented seamstress, Pietje van Oosterom. Hadfield started out as an In-house Designer for menswear design for label FRENCH83, then became Production Manager for renowned label Ingrid Starnes, which informed Hadfield’s desire for hands- on involvement. While working as a machinist for Netflix, Hadfield decided to launch her own label in 2021, with a strong focus on tailoring. In a world of fast-fashion juggernauts, the quality over quantity values embedded in Oosterom are as refreshing as they are hopeful. Each made-to-order design minimises overproduction and ensures that every garment will be cherished by the owner for years to come. From her home studio, Hadfield’s designs know no bounds; from gowns for brides to campaign-ready outfits for Chloe Swarbrick. Although a recent brain- child, Hadfield’s label will soar to new heights this year, mark our words – starting with New Zealand Fashion Week: Kahuria 2024.

What is…

A challenge you overcame in 2023?

As a designer, I thrive on a challenge. Producing and launching a made-to-order collection at NZFW: Kahuria 2023 was certainly one of them. Work-life balance is a fine art, especially with a toddler in tow. There are never quite enough hours in the day! Through delegation, collaboration and sheer determination, the show was a huge success.

A professional goal for the upcoming year?

Streamlining operations within the brand is our focus this year. As the business organically grows, we are able to forecast demand and make informed decisions – like producing popular items in small batches. This in turn increases the time focused on design and the bespoke branch of the business. Creative collaboration with clients brings an immense amount of joy.

A trend you anticipate seeing in your industry this year?

The demand for made-to-order, tailoring and customisation will continue to grow as the consumer becomes increasingly aware of the environmental and ethical impact of their purchases. Versatility, cost per wear and the importance of using natural fibres will also be hot topics.

A piece of advice for women wanting to start in your industry?

As in any industry, be prepared to start at the bottom of the ladder. To successfully work your way up, act like a sponge and learn from those around you. Say yes to every opportunity until you find something that aligns with your skills and passion. Every challenge is a chance to improve and navigate within a successful career, whatever that may look like for you personally.

Read the full article in Volume 2 of WOMAN Magazine, on sale until 27 May 2024.

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