Fashion designer Caitlin Crisp on buttons and Brene Brown

The challenges of working as a fashion designer come easily to young designer Caitlin Crisp, which can be put down to a healthy dose of genetics, with her great grandfather working as a tailor and grandmother as a seamstress. Add to this her Diploma in Fashion Technology from the Ara Institute of Technology, a memorable stint on Project Runway New Zealand and battling through the Covid-19 lockdown by releasing her second collection and you have a fashion force to be reckoned with. Here we have taken a moment to stop admiring her stripped back feminine aesthetic to share her mental mood board.

My personal style can be defined by: Forever changing, always modest, respectful and reflective of what is going on in my life on any given day.

The last thing I bought and loved was: A pair of gorgeous Celine heels from The Real Real.

An unforgettable place I visited was: A cabin on a farm just out of Mangawhai. My boyfriend surprised me with a weekend there and it was a whole other world. I think it’s more the company than the place itself but that weekend was just perfect.

Next place I’d like to travel to: If Covid had never happened I would be on my first trip to Europe, and in Paris with one of my best friends right now! Fingers crossed that I’ll be able to have that  Europe trip next year when things settle down a bit.

An object I would never part with is: My Grandma’s jewellery. She passed away when I was two and my mother has slowly started giving my pieces of her collection. I think Mum gets as much joy from me wearing it as I do. It’s pretty special.

The last thing I added to my wardrobe was: Every piece from my latest collection. But I’ve been getting the most wear out of my Horizon tops, the sleeves are to die for.

The design (building, person, item) that inspires me is: My quirky wee studio, it’s filled with light and has an amazing energy about it. Although, it’s not so much the room itself that inspires me but I feel inspired when I’m in it.

Caitlin Crisp knit

On my wish list is: Our latest Caitlin Crisp knit in Ivory, an absolute staple wardrobe piece. But they’ve been selling so well I may not get to keep one for myself (a good problem to have).

My favourite app is: Solitaire. I’m obsessed, it’s a great way to stop me thinking about the busyness of the day and slow down before bed.

An indulgence I would never forgo is: My mind jumps to food here and I go through phases. At the moment I’m obsessed with hot chocolates.

If I had to limit my shopping to one neighbourhood in one city it would be: Auckland, and.. Ponsonby. Muse Boutique with a side of Allpress coffee from Pat is all this girl needs.

I can’t miss an episode of: The O.C. I’m re-watching it at the moment and it gets me every time (don’t know if I should be admitting that).

Claire Elizabeth Turner

The one artist whose work I would collect is: Claire Elizabeth Turner

In my fridge you’ll always find: My boyfriend Josh and our flatmate Tim’s beers… I’m never home so the fridge is their territory.

My favourite room in my house is: The lounge, I live with people with very serious jobs that come with fantastic work stories (think, intensive care paramedic) so it’s very grounding to come home after a day of ‘fashion’ and listen to some real-world problems.

I recently discovered: That taking a bit of time out does wonders for the soul.. you were right, Mum!

The people I rely on for my wellbeing are: Tied in first place would be my family, my boyfriend and my best friend Holly. I wouldn’t be who or where I am without them.

My favourite website is:, naturally.

Brene Brown

The podcasts I listen to are: I’m not loyal to one channel or even genre, lately it’s been jumping between Fashion In Focus and anything Brene Brown.

The beauty/ grooming product I can’t live without is: My hairbrush. These locks don’t tame themselves. One of the darling boys I nanny for also has an obsession with plaiting my hair so it’s often left a mop of knots.

Music I’m listening to currently: It’s a constant cycle of finding some good new ones and then reverting back to the playlist I’ve had going since 2010-ish, much to my friend’s dismay.

If I wasn’t doing what I am, I would be: Wishing I was doing what I’m doing! I never knew working retail and nannying would fit into my dream of being a designer and having my own label. But somehow they all came together to make for a very happy life. I couldn’t ask for more than that.


The last meal out I had that truly impressed me was: Lilian! Everytime. I couldn’t pick a favourite on the menu. It’s all so good. 

I have a collection of: Buttons which I inherited from my Grandmother and my Nana Margaret and which my mother adds to as she finds interesting buttons.

A great piece of advice I have received: Life is 10 per cent what happens to you and 90 per cent what you do with it. Another golden nugget my old boss Anna gave me was “we’re selling clothes, not saving lives”. It keeps everything in perspective when facing the inevitable challenges that come with being in the fashion industry.

The last book I loved was: A toss up between Daring Greatly by Brene Brown and Acid For The Children by/about Flea. I learnt a lot about myself from one and laughed hysterically at the other, a good balance.


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