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Designer Jaimee Smith tells Amy Parsons-King how women want to wear beautiful clothing that fits in all the right places.
Already a multi-award-winning hairstylist, business owner, wife and mother, Jaimee Smith has decided to add fashion designer to the list of attributes, officially launching her label ''Florence'' at iD Dunedin Fashion Week this year.
Born and raised in Timaru, at just 16 Smith decided to leave school and spread her wings, so moved to Dunedin to create a new life for herself. She worked in numerous jobs, including as a waitress and at a local freezing works before gaining an apprenticeship in hairdressing.
''I never had any real set direction of what I wanted to do with my career and, to be honest, I never felt like I was a creative person.''
However, her sister, who was a hairdresser in Timaru, had given her after-school work.
''So when I came to Dunedin I found it was an industry I had some experience in, so I took on an apprenticeship at Rodney Wayne, and was lucky enough to have the late Michelle Ogden as my mentor.''
Ogden introduced her to the creative side of the hairdressing industry, encouraging her to enter competitions, which in turn exposed her to the exciting world of fashion shoots and runway shows.
It was through styling outfits for competitions that Smith discovered her love of fashion and design.
Although she does not have any formal fashion-design training, Smith, who owns Zaibatsu Hair Art, has been designing and often constructing the couture outfits seen in her competition entries for the past 10 years. She finds living in Dunedin makes it difficult to source the avant garde garments required for her photoshoots.
''Down here we don't have the budget or the networks to borrow clothes, so you have to come up with your own crazy designs because it's not just the hair being judged, it's the whole look.''
Three years ago Smith decided to turn her aptitude and passion for fashion design into a business, so with a little help from a client and some friends in the fashion industry, Florence has been established.
''I'm so incredibly grateful for the encouragement from close friends, Amy and Sarah Henderson and the chance meetings with the super talented Lisa Dorathy and Carmen Dickson who are responsible for bringing Florence and my creations to life.
''This was the catalyst for launching Florence - turning a hobby into something a bit more serious has quickly shot to the top of the list of my most favourite projects.''
Since her label's inception in 2014, Smith has been exclusively supplying Slick Willys with small seasonal runs, although she considers the showcase of a capsule collection at this year's iD railway shows the official launch of the brand.
What can audiences expect to see from Florence?
While that has not been finalised just yet, it will not be midriff-revealing crop tops but sophisticated clothing designed with real women in mind.
''The label isn't cohesive, it's very trans-seasonal. I love pretty drapey garments, but then I love really avant garde structured garments too, so it's very challenging to pinpoint what the label is really about, but I feel in society's ever-changing moods, people love a broader selection these days.
''I'm old enough now to know what works commercially and that's clothing for real women who have curves, that want to wear beautiful clothing that fits in all the right places.''