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October 08, 2020 8 min read

Besties and business partners, Nia and Talia are the creative duo behind local womenswear brand Layplan. Growing traction from customers and fashion stylists a-like, Layplan are coveted for their bold use of colour, sculptural silhouettes and interesting textures. Often made from remnant fabric, utilizing the yield to minimize waste (the principal behind their name), their construction is intentional, and each piece is designed to empower the women wearing them.

It’s a pleasure to sit down with Nia and Talia to chat about their designs, the women who inspire them, and overcoming the distance of working together from separate cities.

Saben for Layplan captured by Jodie Johns

Saben for Layplan captured by Jodie Johns

Congrats on the pending launch of your first full collection! What can customers expect to see?

Thank you! We’re so excited for our first full collection, in the past, we’ve just released pieces bit by bit, so it’s pretty big for us to be releasing a full collection ALL AT ONCE. 

 You can expect to see some new silhouettes, more bright colours and maybe a pattern here or there (very new for us!) We’ve always designed with the words ‘bold’ and ‘femme’ in mind, we think this collection reflects that well. 

What is the season (or ongoing) inspiration behind the collection?

For ‘Collection One’ we’ve worked at creating fresh wardrobe staples, we wanted these pieces to be bold and beautiful, yet easily transition into an everyday wardrobe. A lot of our work revolves around the “from - to”. From day to evening, from summer to winter - can I wear both sneakers and heels with this? Can I slip a shirt under the dress and wear it to work? We’ve designed the collection with wearablity in mind, without compromising design and style. 

Your ultimate favourite style from the new range?

Talia: Mine would have to be either the Suzy Top or the Chummy! 

Nia: I love the Chillie dress! She’s a little sleeker and a little saucier than our previous styles so I’m looking forward to seeing how she’s received.

Your go-to fail safe / default style?

Talia: I’m a sucker for a puffy dress - Lucia, with sneakers and a jumper, can’t go wrong!

Nia: Puffy sleeves get me every. time. Love a good pair of leather boots or socks with sandals to pair a puffy sleeve with!

You’re always collaborating with up and coming creatives, tell us what your creative community means to you?

We’ve always valued the way that creatives interact; the bouncing of ideas, the passion projects, the sometimes shared struggles, the dreams and the hustle! 

Our growing community of creative friends is something really special to us, we love that we can now work alongside in our own design fields.  It’s also really cool that a lot of us are young and giving it a go, it means we’re able to help each other out where we can. 

Tell us about the Saben pop-up, and what it means for you and your brand?

This will be our first collaborative pop up with a well established NZ label, so, first and foremost thank you for this opportunity! 

Pop ups have been really good for us in the sense that it creates a space to meet the people who buy from us. As a brand who values her community - this connection has always been quite special to us. It's been due time for another pop-up so this is perfect.

Having a public space also gives our customers an opportunity to experience Layplan without the barrier of time, and only being online.  Layplan has always been made-to-order online and although it’s been a model that’s been beneficial for us, it usually means our customers miss out on seeing the garment on and feeling how the fabric sits/drapes on their body. Having a physical store to walk into and try things on (even just for two days) means our customers are given that experience. 

You are so intentional with construction, tell us about your commitment to minimise waste?

We both come from a background of fashion,  and the conversation around conscious fashion has always been an integral part of our degree.  As designers who are now a part of the fashion industry, it is our responsibility to take what we’ve learnt, and apply it.  We can't control the industry and customer buying habits, but we can control how we operate, and how our customers are consuming us. 

A ‘Layplan’ is a step that one uses before the fabric is cut. The pattern pieces are laid onto the fabric in what is called a ‘layplan’ and this is to best maximise fabric usage and minimise waste. Our business has been built on this concept and it seeps into everything we do. We’re made-to-order because it’s consciously sound. Our garments are pattern made intentionally to minimmize our wastage (a few being zero-waste!). We have a really good relationship with one of our local fabric suppliers that supply us with either deadstock fabric, or fabric that they’re desperate to get rid of. From there we choose what we can work with and use it to make up our collection.

We’ve found that it’s actually not that helpful to donate our remnants, so we’ve come up with a creative little segment in our business that’ll use the remainder of our wastage and turn it into something our customers can love further (launching soon!). 

Waste control has been easier in the past, but as we’ve been getting bigger and scaling up, we know that we’ll have to keep coming up with new and better ways to manage how we operate. 

We LOVE your bold use of colour (hello, 2020 needs a mood-lifter!) Do you think your customers are drawn to that confidence or they tend to shy toward the black or neutral version? 

Amen! We’ve ALWAYS been about the bright colours and we’re confident that our customers are about it too. It usually depends on the season - although we don’t really change our colour scheme because in our opinion,  colour is a year round thing(!!).  But, we do get more requests for black/white in the colder seasons. We do love a classic black dress here and there, we understand in some cases black means longevity and so we give the people what they want because we’re all about longevity. Lately we’ve opened up a small segment on ‘how to style’. It’s meant that our bold coloured pieces are styled for everyday wear in multiple ways, showing that it’s not as scary as one might think. Once people see it on and styled within a basic wardrobe, it seems less daunting. 

With Layplan getting bigger and bigger featuring in magazines and popping up everywhere on social media, how do you both deal with the workload living in separate cities? 

We won't sugar coat it - it’s hard. But we both also know it’s just for a season and hopefully won't be our situation for too much longer. A handy trait we both have in common is that we’re both abnormally adaptable, so with every challenge that comes along we’re both quite quick to work alongside it and then overcome it! Like anyone in business - and I guess relationship/friendship, communication is vital. Phone calls/zoom/Face time is our absolute best friend!!  

Best perk of working with your bestie? OR what do you admire the most about each other?

In numerous ways growing a business together has really strengthened our friendship, it’s been a really beautiful process doing it alongside each other. It’s now a priority of ours to make sure we have ‘friend time’ amongst the business days lol that’s the magic of how Layplan started so we make sure it’s friends first and then business partners :)

Nia: Best perk is that we’ve had a friendship before going into business. The trust is there because I know the kind of person I’m working with. Talia’s imagination is insane. I always say she's the more creative one out of us both, the raw-genius kind of creative. She brings the fun into Layplan for sure.

Talia: Like Nia, the best perk is having a friend in all of this. 

Nia is a design geniuuuuus - the way her brain works is crazy! This paired with her work ethic - she’s a force for sure! She always reminds me of the ‘spirit of excellence’ in every part of our business and I really love that about her!

Tell us about the classic Layplan lady? 

OOooh The Layplan lady... She wears the bright pink dress to the supermarket with her hair in all it’s natural glory…..in socks with sandals. 

If you could dress anyone, who would it be and why?

I can’t wait 'til we do a small ode to our mamas and shoot them together in the pieces inspired by them. That will be a really special day for us. So much of our work is informed by strong female roles in our lives. And because they’re our biggest supporters (alongside the hubbys of course).

Or maybe mine or Nia’s child, in Little Layplan that would be surreal!

Where do you see Layplan in 5 years?  

We see a multi-faceted creative studio with all of the coolest creatives working alongside eachother. We see open spaces and a mezzanine floor where we can yell “coffees here!” and everyone comes together in the morning. We see Layplan having many arms that will allow us to dip our fingers in all things design/art that we love. We see an in house production team made up of skilled machinists and patternmakers who can make us better at what we do. We see a team but more so a community around us that shares our vision. 

With so much happening this year, how has it evolved your outlook // what has 2020 taught you? 

Nia: 2020 has taught me how important rest and slowing down is (this looks like work boundaries in the weekend, less phone time etc) When I’m well rested it flows into everything else I do. I become a better wife, better friend, and better business partner. 

Talia: 2020 has taught me a lot about how precious time is. I’ve really made it a point to try and be present in whatever I’m doing especially with who I’m with. This year has also highlighted how urgent it is for me to do all of things I’ve always talked of doing, personally, career-wise etc - I blinked and now I’m 25 agh! 

Any tips and tricks or life hacks you want to share? (time management, working remotely to each other, caring for you clothes, sauce on peanut butter toast is a good combo – ANYTHING!)

Nia: never go grocery shopping when you’re hungry! You spend all your money on snacks and food you dont need :( 

Talia:agree^

Take a few of ya favourite tea bags on the plane, ask for hot water and you have tea (that you actually want)!! 

And on Saben style – What do you look for in a handbag? Do you swap out your bag or need ONE that does work-weekend, day-to-night? What drew you to Saben, and which styles are on your wish-list!?

 Talia: I think what drew me to Saben is the sleek design and the quality. I’m trying to practise what I preach with ‘quality over quantity’ and Saben does that well. I usually go for a tote bag , I’m a tote bag girl through and through because they last forever - and fit literally everything in! However lately my favourite thing is wearing a really pretty dress with a little bag. I love the feeling of plonking my little handbag down on the table out at dinner, even if my phone doesn’t fit in it lol.

I have a few faves: The Ziggy wallet seems to be one of those things that last a lifetime! Love the Tabbie shape and handle especially and lastly the Odile bag but with a feature strap - yes, yes, yes. 

Nia: My everyday bag is currently a tote (great for my fabric shopping needs) outside of work, I tend to look for a bag with a little quirk in it, I’m a sucker for a bag with a well designed handle and an unexpectant shape but still also something I can wear with most of my outfits. I think that’s what drew me to Saben. I love that Saben bags really do meet in the middle, they’re the best of both worlds. They’re fun enough to pair with my “out there” outfits, but then they’re also sleek enough to take into a business meeting.  The bag that epitomises this for me is the Tabbie Handbag! It’s the perfect combination of quirk and sophistication. So many heart eyessssss (DOES IT COME IN LIME GREEN?!)

 

Stay in touch with Nia and Talia and all things LAYPLAN on Instagram @layplan

Saben for Layplan captured by Jodie Johns

Talina from Layplan wearing Fifi handbag in Aegean

Saben for Layplan captured by Jodie Johns

Saben for Layplan captured by Jodie Johns

Nia and Talia from Layplan holding Saben Liv and Odile handbags

Close up of Odile white worn by Nia from Layplan

Layplan patterns held by Talina

Lavinia from Layplan wearing Frilly Tilly

Layplan workroom

Layplan in pink for Saben captured Lavinia from Layplan wears Saben Brooklyn handbag in Aegean blue

Images by Jodie Johns



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