The very first Tonic & Cloth collection launches on the Good Sustainable Style runway at New Zealand Fashion Week 2018. The brand’s purpose and mission, according to designer Jodie Woods, is to empower women, while making Monday clothes feel like Sunday.
Photography by Brad Hanson
‘Monday clothes that feel like Sunday’ will hit the runway this New Zealand Fashion Week as part of Tonic & Cloth’s debut collection and the Good Sustainable Style Show.
Expect to see beautiful yet everyday wearable clothes that celebrate the strength and beauty of the female form, says Tonic & Cloth’s designer and founder, Jodie Woods (pictured in hero image above). Materials will include linens and organic cotton sateen’s and twills, with greys, blues, and Woods’ current favourite colourway, ochre.
Woods, who is based in Fielding, always knew she wanted ‘Tonic’ in the name of her brand. “I wanted the clothes to feel like a tonic to the body, and that their production values would ensure they were also a tonic to the planet and to the people producing them. The idea was that the clothes would be a tonic made from cloth – hence Tonic & Cloth.”
The brand is a social enterprise, and in Woods’ opinion, it’s business at its best. “Business has such an incredible opportunity to impact positive change in our world. Making and selling beautiful things and changing lives in the process – that really floats my boat,” she says.
Woods said ‘yes’ to being a part of the Good Sustainable Style Show for the ladies of Holi Boli, a talented group of women in India whom are empowered through sewing training and employment, and make the Tonic & Cloth garments (see above video for more). Says Woods, “the exposure Tonic & Cloth will enjoy by showing at the Good Sustainable Style show is life changing for the talented group of ladies working on my Indian production run. It means a good life for them, their families and their community. It means female identity and power in a society that often doesn’t place value on women and what they can achieve.”
Speaking to the debut collection and brand’s aesthetic, Wood explains how she loves to play with shape and form. “The Gatsby Pants for instance have voluminous pleats that are incredibly interesting for the eye – and make for the tiniest looking waist. The Kimono Dress, is angular and structured and yet the (elasticated) belt synchs in the waist, creating an hour glass figure. These are clothes that take delight in the female form and shape, are not afraid to use volume to create an edge – and that are also incredibly wearable. All. Day. Long.
“I’ve travelled extensively, and I’ve worked long hours in a range of environments – I have first-hand experience of just how uncomfortable clothes can be! So, this is a collection of clothes that are truly wearable, yet professional and edgy enough to wear to the office! Clothes that make you feel strong and powerful and ‘on point’. No leggings! Just thoughtful cuts, hidden elastic and delicious breathable fabrics,” she says.
Tonic & Cloth designs feature plenty of natural fibres, linen, silk, cottons. “Since I started this Tonic & Cloth journey, I’ve become increasingly excited about the proliferation of eco fabrics. Not just organic cotton which is wonderful, but bamboo and tencel and so forth. And I can’t wait to work with more of these as the journey continues,” says Woods.
Showcasing a debut fashion collection in any public capacity is nerve wracking, and Woods is preparing to enter the industry with a baptism by fire – beginning with the biggest event and stage the fashion industry in New Zealand offers. But she’s taking it all in her stride.
“I’m incredibly excited about going under the Good umbrella. Good has been my favourite magazine for years. So, it will be an honour to be part of the Good show. To partner with a magazine who writes content for ‘conscious living people who love life, style and the planet’ – is a dream come true,” she says.
Woods will also be collaborating with some local ceramic artisans ‘Light + Vessel’ to make something unexpected – so watch this space – as well as Recycle Boutique Palmerston North who will providing Tonic & Cloth’s footwear for the show.
As for her hopes for the future of the industry, Woods believes fashion is freedom. “I believe business changes lives. I want to see this everywhere, not just with a small pocket of designers. Events such as the Good Sustainable Style Show help call this into being. By creating a high impact, beautiful platform to entice consumers into a new way of thinking about the clothes they wear.”