Marle Women is created to celebrate our philosophy of designing pieces for women of all ages and stages of their lives. Each feature profiles a selection of women across the generations that we admire. We hope each interview inspires you, the same way in which these women do to us.
Name: Zeenat Wilkinson
Can you share a little bit about yourself, your background, career and upbringing? What aspects have contributed to the woman you are today?
I was born in Mumbai, India, and I went to an all-girls school. I have a degree in Psychology and studied fashion design alongside. I later studied at Central Saint Martin's in London, focusing my time on Trend Forecasting and Fashion Marketing to get a bigger perspective on the industry. While I was there, thanks to some weird cosmic alignment, I ended meeting some fantastic creatives, and I think it all kicked off from there.
After years of working in publishing (styling for Grazia magazine and a few European magazines), I decided to move to New Zealand to be with my now-husband Luke.
I was always drawn to fashion. A copy of Vogue Italy discovered in my aunt's things when I was seven -- sparked my love for publications and print media.
My mum was a massive inspiration for me while growing up. She would wear the most beautiful Halston and YSL dresses that she would pick up on her trips to London at Harrods. I learned quite early on that fashion can be a powerful weapon of self-expression.
I often joke about living nine lives (like a cat) before I moved here because I did so many different things and lived in three different continents at some point, so I've had a whirlwind of a life, and I feel like all those dots connect at some point and they have contributed to the woman I am today.
How would you describe your personal style? Has it always been this way or has it evolved over the years? How?
I am often drawn to loud, flamboyant prints and bold accessories (I think that comes from working as a stylist), but I've had to find the balance over the years by mixing pieces that are timeless with a few dramatic accessories with my own wardrobe and simplify.
Have you always been confident in your style, or is it something one learns with age?
I've always been confident in my style. I discovered what I liked and didn't like when I was quite young, maybe as young as ten years ago. I find texture and comfortable fabric key to dressing well and feeling comfortable in any situation.
What do you love most about wearing Marle? How does it make you feel?
Marle, as a brand, truly understands what women need in terms of shape, cuts, and wearability with fabrics. It always comes back to Marle's clever materials and designs.
What is your take on a personal ritual? Do you have any rituals when getting dressed each morning?
I am big on rituals. I try and wake up early to make time for yoga meditation, followed by Buddhist chanting and then making a plan of action for the day over coffee in my diary. Penning down all my thoughts down helps me navigate my day.
I plan my outfits when I am in the shower. It's funny, but I get my best ideas in the shower.
What conversations do you wish more people were having day to day?
Representation for people of colour in leadership and authoritative roles in all industries.
What do you wish people were more aware of? Is there something you wish was discussed more openly?The negative impacts of colour-blindness. To dismantle racism, we need to have an open conversation about it, see it for what it is, and the people affected by negative stereotypes and these situations.
What is a piece of personal wisdom that you carry with you?People invest into stories and not products. They are buying so much more than a top or a lip-gloss. This philosophy and understanding is how I approach my business (SAUCE) too, and I always try to create with love, authenticity, and with my community at the forefront.
Quick fire questions
Most treasured accessory? My mum's necklace with her name in Arabic.
Texture or colour? Super soft cotton and white
Spring/ Summer or Autumn/Winter? Spring-summer all the way!