Big ideas for little ones

Fresh out of designing for New Zealand Fashion Week, Dunedin childrenswear designer Anna Peacock talks to Katie Day.


Dunedin’s clear, cool beaches inspire Anna Peacock in many forms, providing a soothing backdrop for the design.

With a desire to dress her daughter in fresh, easy pieces, Peacock founded Sienna Blair, a Dunedin-based children’s lifestyle brand.

The idea germinated in his house near the beach.

Peacock’s mission is to create cool, comfy basics for kids that parents and kids want.

The brand came to fruition three years ago, although it took many years to develop.

Peacock spent her early years in Christchurch, drawing her fashion foundation from her mother, a woman she described as “a great seamstress”.

“She always sewed and made all of our baby clothes when we were little.”

This desire to create was transmitted from mother to daughter, the designer catching the sewing bug as a teenager.

‘I would do tops here

or there or made costumes when we went to fancy dress parties as teenagers.”

While she had a foundation steeped in creativity, Peacock developed a diverse knowledge base.

She dove into the sciences during her college years, earning a master’s degree in audiology.

Her school career eventually led her to Dunedin.

“I actually moved to Dunedin for my audiology work when I graduated, that was about eight years ago.”

The cool southern town quickly became my home.

“We came just thinking we were going to stay for a few years and then fell in love with Dunedin.”

Nestled in a beautiful beachfront home, Peacock and her husband welcomed their first daughter, Sienna, three and a half years ago.

With Sienna’s welcome came another arrival: the idea of ​​creating children’s clothing.

“I’ve always had a passion for fashion, so when I had my little Sienna, I started looking for something else. I feel like when you have a 3 or 4 month old child, you’re to the point where you think about what you can do.

“I didn’t really want to go back to audiology and at the time there wasn’t much for kids and I just took it from there. I wanted to create something different and create something that I myself would want to wear but in a mini version.”

With an eye for fashion and a desire to find special clothes for her daughter, Peacock turned intention into reality.

“I started by designing two pieces and had them made in China…I worked in the spare part of our house and it’s organically grown from there.”

The company launched globally through online platforms such as Instagram, which helped connect the pieces to a wider audience.

“At the time, a few bigger influencers in Auckland grabbed onto our products and posted pretty organically about them and our audience grew from there.”

The brand now sells online through its own website and has found a stocked home in several children’s clothing boutiques across the country.

“It’s been a long journey and we’re in our third year now and there’s been a lot of learning over the three years.”

The effortlessly cool children’s brand seemed like an opportunity magnet, and early last year Sienna Blair was approached by New Zealand Fashion Week to share a collection on the NZFW children’s show.

Although the show could not take place due to global health concerns, the event required a range of looks, creating a designer playground for Peacock.

“For our fashion week show, we had to do 14 different looks and I really played around with different textures and fabrics that I wouldn’t normally work with. I thought, ‘Why not? You might as well explore something you wouldn’t. normally do and play with “things.”

The range includes a plaid shirt, colorful tracksuits, printed tees, denim jacket, cargo pants and an oversized cardigan in pretty pinks and lavender.

There is no shortage of inspiration for the creator who finds creative sparks in everyday moments.

“I have this folder on my phone and I’ll see a cool color combination, it could be from a curtain or a dish towel or a book I’m reading and I’m like, ‘Man, these colors are really cool together!”. So I have this album of all these random shots.”

peacock

also gets a feel for social media.

“I also get a lot of inspiration from Pinterest and other Instagrammers who are into fashion and everywhere, you know.”

Perhaps his greatest source of inspiration is found in his daughter’s daydreams.

“I realize now that my Sienna is 3 and a half years old, they [children] want to dress up. So I’m creating pieces that they also want to put on.

“She loves bright colors, hot pinks and anything with cute little hearts or butterflies. So I work a lot more with prints now, which is so interesting as the business evolves and Sienna grows, I realizes that older children are also affected.”

As the company enters its fourth year, expansions are on the horizon.

It is becoming a lifestyle brand with a strong demand for feminine pieces to pair with its children’s clothes.

“We had these cool checkerboard kids sets and then we did women’s knit checkerboard shorts and they were so popular, so I really like to dive more into the feminine side of things,” Peacock said.

“We have a lot in the sampling phase in Indonesia right now for women’s knitwear and mom comfort clothes as well.”

Concerned about the effects of clothing on the skin and the environment, the brand is also developing an organic baby range.

“At the moment we are also looking at using organic and natural fibers. It’s really important and people really want to know where their clothes are made and the composition of the fabric and new mums really care about what affects the their baby’s skin.”

Located near the expansive vistas of the beach, Sienna Blair is shaped by the environment in more ways than one.

“Dunedin is a really cool backdrop for the business and I’ve met some really amazing people who have been such an influence on the business as well.

“We all have coffee by the beach every morning and it’s so inspiring to talk to them and they always have great ideas and they’ve helped me a lot with things.”

About Catharine C. Bean

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