It feels like we have know Colleen forever, but we actually only spoke for the first time when we approached her to onboard with us at stok. in New Zealand. We have always followed her ranges and style year after year and been ultimately so impressed by her choice of fabrics, and utmost attention to every detail of her designs. Every pocket, hem and finishing touch has been carefully designed and placed on her garments to add a unique style and flair to every piece. I feel like her clothes need to be collected. Building onto your wardrobe every year.
In Colleen's words: after more than three decades of designing and making fashion, it’s hard to explain, but my life and career are still a work in progress. What started out as a passion for beautiful clothes, consciously constructed for living in with great fit and balanced proportions is as important today as it was back in the 80’s when I first began to design clothes for the modern and fashion-hungry woman.
As South Africa started to change with its newfound democratic freedom in the 90’s, so too did the women of South Africa, wearing their fashion ‘loud and proud’ with a distinctive flair that encouraged designers like me to find inspiration in every little move that they made. I have experienced most of my best fashion moments in the streets of Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town and even in some of the more rural South African settings which I have visited over the years.
I find inspiration in my surroundings every day, and often draw on memories of my childhood days as well. Some of these include my first pair of boots made from wet look leather (not unlike the boots that the drum majorettes would wear at parades when I was a kid) and the beautiful scarlet Chanel-like suit which my Mum sometimes wore to work.
My working life and my personal life are not separate, but co-exist, not always peacefully, side by side. I’ve had to make it work and have struck an almost uneasy balance between the two which somehow has assisted me in the process of designing for others, who I’m sure also seek to strike the balance between career and life.
Fashion is not inanimate. Clothes live and breathe, they embody movement and define feelings. Designing them is more than a job, it’s a vocation, something I trained for, and as I look back on three decades of COLLEEN EITZEN, I recall many of my designs with a healthy dose of humility mixed with pride.
Our clothes are crafted for women-kind. We’re obsessed with design and dedicated to creating garments that fit perfectly and are tailored to the female form, no matter how long it takes. Simple sophistication. Quality workmanship. Considered Materials. Timeless design. I aim for equal parts fashion and function, luxury and liveability in my styles to create clothes that become wardrobe go-tos, versatile enough for work or play in classic silhouettes that still feel modern.
Good design is simple and that’s what makes it complicated. All you need is the perfect fit and balanced proportions. We focus on what matters: making women feel confident and comfortable in the clothes they are wearing. Colleen Eitzen garments have been designed with integrity for longevity, taking the time to fit, rework, tweak and test every piece until it’s flawless and flattering. Our clothes are simple, sophisticated and versatile. We’re not big on trends. We want you to wear Colleen Eitzen garments for years, even decades, to come.
Slow fashion. Local. Sustainable. These are all buzzwords in the fashion world today, but we were making versatile clothes to last, locally by seamstresses who are treated with respect, long before the buzz began. Colleen Eitzen garments are made to last from fabrics that are luxurious, durable and feel great on the skin. We keep up with new advances in technology and align ourselves with sustainable practices that care for our community and the environment across our production and design process. It’s just how we do things, on-trend or not.