Thursday, 3 October 2013

Tamaasa Is Thoughtful High End EcoFashion

New Zealand designer and co-founder of Tamaasa -Tabitha Maxwell - is inspiring, eclectic and passionate about creating ethical clothing that feeds the soul and steers clear of fast fashion's obsession with the disposable. 

I'm delighted to share with you my exclusive interview with Tabitha!

Q. What inspired the creation of eco-fashion label Tamaasa and what does the name mean? 

James and I started the label in 2010 due to a passion for an ethical lifestyle. There seems to be such a gap in the market for high end quality goods that are ethically made, with sustainability in mind and we both come from creative backgrounds so thought we would give it a go. We created our knitwear garment the skeanie first and it just kind of snowballed from there with people finding us and asking for more. 

Our re-brand came about this year when we decided to change the name from Earthage to Tamaasa. It had been on the cards for quite some time as Tamaasa was always close personally to my heart, as my baby sister used to call me this growing up. She was born with a terminal illness and I suppose she taught me most everything I know about compassion and humanity so it seems very fitting she is a part of the label's name. 

Q. How would you describe the design aesthetic of Tamaasa in 10 words or less?

Raw, industrial, architecture meets bohemian whimsicalness colliding into new manifestos.

Q. What makes Tamaasa a great choice for eco-conscious fashionistas?

Everyone wants to be original and our garments and accessories are known for being truly unique artisan pieces that are timeless and also ethical. We truly care about the environment and humanity during our creative journey and if you also do, our label is a good choice. 

Q. Which ethical designers are inspiring you right now?

I love what Stella McCartney does with sustainable fashion. The couture is amazing, stunning. Timeless pieces that are built to last for generations to come, I think that is really smart fashion. It isn't throwaway and it moves back to the roots of the artisan nature of fashion and art. I would love to have that kind of couture audience.

Q. Do you believe that ethical fashion + design is becoming more prominent in New Zealand?

I would like to hope so, there are some really beautiful labels over here doing some amazing things: Starfish clothing, Kowtow, Miranda Brown as well as ethical businesses for beauty products such as Blanchett Botanicals

It is a fairly hard industry to carve a niche from and I think every little bit counts so I take my hat off to anyone that chooses to walk this path, and I wish them all amazing success.

Q. Do you have a favourite item in store right now?

I love our Sacnite 'white flower' organic merino dress, it can be worn backwards buttons at the back, buttoned up as a dress or unbuttoned as an over-sized cardi. I love fashion that meets more than one need, and it is seriously comfortable. 

Q. Has the amazing natural beauty of New Zealand influenced Tamaasa’s designs at all?

I think probably more than anything, my desire to keep the landscape beautiful in NZ has inspired our designs. Most of our range is actually American Indian inspired but it doesn't hurt when you wake up to the wild west coast of Piha beach to design to everyday. There are a lot of protests going on over here to do with taking sustainable action and I believe that inspires us everyday.

Piha Beach, New Zealand -  Photo credit: Zanthia

Q. What does the future hold for Tamaasa?

We were recently really lucky to have some items from our range handpicked by US eco-model and TV host Summer Rayne Oakes who supports the sustainable sector so passionately that we have a new-found inspiration for pushing the boundaries in eco-design.

We have also had a few overseas stockists contact us about our latest range which is fairly exciting and together it has just reaffirmed to us that our wee little New Zealand sustainable product can get out on to the map and that is hopefully a big part of our future. 

There's nothing we both wouldn't appreciate more than traveling the world and spending time investing in sustainable sectors overseas, and looking into more ways to create new manifestos toward consumerism. 

You can also connect with Tamaasa via Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!


  1. I love some of what is offered here. The "white flower" dress is stunning. I see her website is having some technical issues. I will wait for it to reopen!


    1. Hi Stephanie! I'm so glad you enjoyed the interview :)

      I've sent Tabitha a message to let her know there's an issue with their website! Hopefully they'll be back online very soon. In the meantime you can always check them out on Facebook >>

      KB x