Jarrod Reid is the New Zealand-born designer crafting silhouette-bending, bespoke designs

A growing list of made-to-order New Zealand fashion labels

“It’s taken me a while to know my worth in my craft.”

“It’s like if Princess Peach and Pennywise the Clown had a child together, and Leigh Bowery was the nanny,” designer Jarrod Reid explains when asked to describe his eponymous label. And after seeing shots of Jarrod’s latest collection – namely a ribbon-cinched, bubble-peplum checkerboard ballgown and matching hat – the simile makes perfect sense.

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Jarrod’s designs have a distinctive and constantly evolving aesthetic. Experimenting with silhouette and proportion, his garments push the gender binary – equal parts masculine, feminine and delightfully otherworldly. He’s created custom, pastel-toned garments for Australian artists like Banoffee, Mallrat and Mikaela Safford. Below, Jarrod speaks on what’s next.

How did the label get started? Talk us through the process and the challenges.

This all kind of started a few years ago during a bit of a clubbing phase. My friend Joel had a drag show coming up at Honcho Disko and asked me to make them a dress. I remember watching Joel’s performance and seeing the garment being brought to life on stage with Gwen Stefani’s ‘Yummy’ blasting in my ears.

It was kind of in that moment I [decided I] wanted to keep going with it. It’s taken me a while to know my worth in my craft. I think it’s just come naturally with practice and a bit more experience behind me. Another challenge for me would be taking on too many projects and feeling burnt out… it’s okay to say no to things.

Can you tell us about your new collection?

I was reflecting on clubbing culture when I started developing the inspiration behind my most recent collection. The extravagant outfits always felt like a circus, like a performance. Outfits can really give a person power or a persona, and I use this spectacle of dressing up to try and push the limits of how a silhouette can take up space. This new collection is called Anther.

I completed my Bachelor of Design at Massey University in New Zealand. Once I moved to Melbourne, I started taking on commissions, mostly for friends and friends of friends. Over time, this turned into people reaching out for other exciting projects, so it’s gotten a little more serious which is cool.

I like the commission format. While it’s time-consuming creating a [custom] garment, it’s also really satisfying knowing it’s a unique and one-off piece. [It] makes it a little bit more special.

Ahh, I would say it’s like if Princess Peach and Pennywise the clown had a child together, and Leigh Bowery was the nanny.

What are you most proud of in your work on your label?

Recently, I collaborated with Mallrat on a dress for her new album, Butterfly Blue. She’s such an angel and I had so much fun working on this garment with her!

I’ve [also] spent the last four months sewing a collection a bit more personal to me. Jess Brohier and I shot it recently and I couldn’t be happier with the results. I’m so excited to share!

While I’ve taken time to grow slowly, I still think it’s important to be realistic about what you can do within a time frame. I still have a lot to learn and it’s exciting!

Who do you think is most exciting in Australian fashion right now?
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Wackie Ju, Jordan Gogos, Millie Sykes and Jonty Knight, to name a few! I’d also like to mention my friends in Aotearoa who run Layplan. I am constantly amazed at everything they make.

Sabatucci and Moira Rodriguez. They are both amazingly talented and I think our aesthetics would work well together.

Who is in your wardrobe right now?

I honestly have not updated my wardrobe since pre-pandemic. I never buy from fast fashion, knowing how unethical it is. On the other hand, when I see clothes I like, I’ll say I’m going to make them for myself and never do. I see a wardrobe rebrand in the near future.