Just as the CBD experiences another one of its periodic clear outs, where the number of empty shop windows threaten to outnumber the number of occupied ones, a stunning new clothing store has opened on our main street.
This beautiful store is the result of a story that spans generations, weaving together family, culture and design. ST is a designer clothing store literally like no other. High fashion couture meets Pasifika culture, bringing a boldness and brightness to Gladstone Road that we so need right now.
Susana Tasi is the name of a woman who has harboured a lifelong passion for fashion and design, put on hold for decades until it was finally given flight last year at the sixth annual Pacific Fusion Fashion Show in Papatoetoe, Auckland.
For years, service to her family and community had been the priority for Susana, with her sketchbook serving as a kind of therapy at the end of a challenging day at work.
Many of the seven pieces Susana designed for her debut collection paid tribute to her mother, who came to live in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland from Falelima in Samoa in the 1960s. Having grown up taking turns with her siblings to turn the wheel on the Singer sewing machine as their mother turned out curtains, table clothes and shirts for her children, often from the same cloth, the connection is a close one.
ST the store is inspired by this debut collection, and is run by Susana’s sister, Michelle, who were born and raised together in Otara.
Susana has been in the Tairāwhiti for six years working on the frontline in social services supporting individuals and families impacted by domestic violence and mental health. Since moving here she has represented Gizzy effusively at every opportunity, which is why when the time came to follow up her debut onto the fashion scene with a store, she decided to do it right here in Tūranganui-A-Kiwa, Gisborne.
Michelle had been living in Samoa, getting in touch with their family roots, and working as a GM in the corporate telecommunications sector when she got the call up to join her sister in a new venture.
With the two sisters’ skills combined, Susana Tasi is bound for the stars. The current offerings include three different apparel brands, one is a colourful Pasifika take on Street styles offering quality hoodies and polo shirts. The other two lines include both classic and playful pieces to work and play in. There’s a noticeable interplay between the feminine and masculine in many of the pieces, with options for so many occasions!
Michelle has turned the online shop off for now, to give locals the opportunity to get in before the limited runs sell out, so now’s your chance to check this fabulousness out!
susanatasi.com 109 Gladstone Rd , Gisborne. Follow @S.T on Facebook to keep up to date with the styles, the people and the fun as it all evolves...
Words Sarah Cleave
Photos by Thomas Teutenberg