Bruno Harding is the designer behind Auckland based fashion label, Bruno’s Originals. His designs are one offs, but that’s just the beginning of what makes a Bruno’s piece unique. Bruno’s X Macpac is a collaboration that taps into both brand’s core values of sustainable, durable designs that create minimal waste. The Bruno’s x Macpac collection – a range of six, one-off garments – won’t be on show to the public till mid-winter, but we caught up with Bruno in his Freeman’s Bay studio to talk about his process.
Hey Bruno, thanks for speaking with us. Take us back to where it all began – how did you get into designing clothes?
I’ve always loved clothing. I liked looking at how things were made and how they performed technically, so I decided to study fashion at university. I was a terrible student and struggled to keep up in class. I used to stay back at the end of the day and practice sewing, taking apart old clothes and trying to put them back together to learn the different construction methods. After graduating I traveled to New York, where I worked as a tailor at Martin Greenfield Clothiers which really developed my skills. When I moved back to New Zealand I started sourcing materials from second hand stores and eventually started my label, Bruno’s.
Can you tell us a bit about what you do now?
All my pieces are one of one, and they all start their lives as something completely different, from wool blankets to windsurfer sails. I try to buy as few new fabrics as possible and instead take materials that already exist and turn them into functional garments.
So where does Macpac come in?
My dad has had a relationship with Macpac for a long time through his work in the textile industry. One of the first really fun pieces I made started as an old canvas Great Outdoors tent. I cut it up and turned it into a jacket. And another jacket. And a vest. And a coat… it was a really big tent. My dad sent a photo to his friend, Gavin (the Head of Design at Macpac) and I guess the idea to work together sparked there. In March I travelled down to the Macpac office in Christchurch to harvest old, unsalvageable gear from their Repairs Department. Now I’m working to create six unique pieces from old Macpac tents, sleeping bags, jackets and packs.
What’s the appeal with working with old outdoor gear?
I guess I was really disappointed with what I found when I first entered the fashion world. So many brands create clothing that is only good for a handful of wears and then it goes into landfill. Outdoor brands, and Macpac in particular, set out to make durable gear that lasts a long time. The materials they use are tough. So if after a long life, I can turn them into something beautiful and unique that might live on for another 20 years that’s perfect. I don’t know how to solve the problem of over consumption, but I do know that I never want to contribute to it. Bruno’s is my way of doing what I love, but not adding to the problem.
In the spirit of finding value in old stuff, Bruno’s Originals is repurposing damaged Macpac product to create six unique garments. Proceeds from their sale will go to the Macpac Fund for Good.