Feel Good Fashion
We chat to designer and maker Keva Rands about the why, the what, and the who of her company, Papa Clothing.
What is it that you do?
I design and make clothing, specialising in oversized linens and other natural fibres.
Why did you set up your business?
I wanted to make clothes that not only myself but my larger and smaller friends and family members would feel good in, too. So I started a label that specialises in super flattering simple cuts. Everything is made to order from natural fibres like linen, cotton and occasionally silk. I focus on what feels comfortable and easy. I also try to empower Pacific women as there aren’t many labels who design for us. Many pieces have subtle nods to silhouettes and shapes from the Pacific.
Are you from Auckland originally or did you move here from somewhere else? + reasons for staying or moving?
I was born at home in Matapouri. My family and I moved to Auckland in 1997 when my sister and I were still in primary school. My parents had been developing their mail order business – Ecostore – and we made the move to Auckland to maximise opportunity and really get it off the ground. We still visit our home in Matapouri regularly but I think what lead me to be based in Auckland is the same thing that brought us here in the first place; access to all of Auckland’s resource suppliers and the amazing opportunities to collaborate with other creatives.
What’s your favourite thing about living in Auckland?
The food and the people and I think that’s greatly thanks to the diversity of Auckland's population.
If you had a day off tomorrow to do whatever you wanted in Auckland what would you do?
Firstly, I’d see if my mother wanted to meet me for Kimchi pancakes at Little Bird. After that I’d go and check out the Hawaiian Collection currently on show as part of the Pacific Collections Access project at the Auckland Museum. While I’m over there I’d take a walk through the Winter Gardens. For lunch I’d walk over to K Road and visit Bestie cafe.
Next I’d walk down to the other end of K Road and visit Chris and Joe at Tür Studio. Later I’d meet friends at Herne Bay beach for a swim. After that we’d probably go to Orphans Kitchen for a happy hour beer and some of their homemade sourdough with caramelised butter.
For dinner I would see if my partner would like to meet me at El Sizzling Chorizo in Ponsonby Central. It’s an Argentinian Barbecue place. Delicious meats and fresh salads - my favourite things!
If you weren’t owning/running Papa Clothing, what would you be doing?
If I wasn’t making clothing I think I’d like to run a small restaurant that specialises in food from the Pacific. I’d love to learn more about traditional cooking methods from my grandparents homelands - Fiji and Hawaii. I think the food preparation methods across the pacific are just so incredible and clever.
Who in the world would you most like to have dinner with and what would you eat?
If I could have dinner with anyone, and for the record I would be way too shy to actually speak to this person, I think I’d like to meet Patrisse Cullors who is one of the three African American women who started Black Lives Matter. Listening to her speak through various channels has blown my mind. She’s hugely inspirational and hyper intelligent with great politics. For dinner I think I would take her Coco’s Cantina for some Pasta. Renee and Damaris always have time for a chat and the food is always delicious!
Where can we find out more about Papa Clothing?
Check out our website ...
Keva's Neat Places
Little Bird Kitchen
1 Summer St (Rear Tenancy down Summer St) Ponsonby, Auckland
I love their kimchi pancakes!
179/183 Karangahape Road, Auckland CBD
I love Bestie’s house made kombucha and their tandoori fried chicken is amazing.
118 Ponsonby Road, Grey Lynn
I love Orphans for their experimental menu and their beehive where they get their own honey on the roof!
486 Karangahape Road, Auckland CBD
Their hand woven materials and collection of locally sourced designer ceramics and clothing are really unique and beautifully made.