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Adrion Atelier – a fashion name to watch

Dress designer Adrion Williams is new to Mercury Bay, and he’s designing and making high class couture in a farm shed. Born in South Africa, Adrion learned seamstress skills at his mother’s knee, and went on to study fashion in Capetown.
 |  The Informer  | 

“Fashion is a big deal in South Africa,” Adrion says. “People dress up for any and every occasion. Weddings are particularly important. It’s all about the dress.” At university Adrion’s Thesis was ‘the psychology behind fashion’. He says it’s about how people want to project themselves, to be any person they want to be. Adrion worked for five years designing bridal and evening wear for small studios in South Africa.

In 2015 he came to New Zealand to visit family and have a look around, but Adrion stayed on to take a job with Yu-Mei handbags in Wellington. “It’s all about the detail.” Over seven years he became their Production Manager and then Head of Design.

“It’s amazing how all the dots have joined up,” Adrion says. “Prada was using deer-knapped leather from New Zealand for their bags and Yu-Mei was selling through the same company in L.A. Through them I began freelancing as a fashion designer. I made a Halloween costume, ‘the bride of Frankenstein’ for Kylie Jenner (of Kardashian fame). I got noticed and it’s just gone on from there.”

Adrian’s partner Mark has family in the Bay and they moved to the farm a year ago. He set up his design studio in what used to be the games room. Adrion launched his own brand Adrion Atelier in March this year, and made a lot more connections at Fashion Week in Auckland. He now has a range of styles online. “I have limited space here, so when people place an order there’s a three-day wait for each piece to be custom made.” Adrion describes his designs as being ‘out there’. Nothing is ordinary. He uses the word ‘deconstruction’ a lot when explaining his approach to fashion, and says people of all shapes and sizes can look good and feel good. He hopes very soon to be able to supply to a local outlet, and beyond that, who knows?
Adrion works on a bespoke shirt at his machine in the farm shed.


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