At Work with Rory William Docherty

Featured Creative

Photographer Apela Bell
At Work with Rory William Docherty

We visited designer Rory William Docherty at his showroom to view his latest fashion collection and find out what inspires his work and what is next for the designer. His new season collection is available now - in stores and online, here.

When do you feel most creative?

I feel most creative when I’ve had some time and space to breath, rest and reflect. Travel, seeing new things, soaking up different experiences, cultures, flavours and viewing the world from another perspective definitely inspires me. But through lockdowns, I learnt different ways to rejuvenate my creativity. I now really value the importance of just taking a day off to step back. Reading an engaging book, going to a gallery, or simply pottering around the house, creating a beautiful calm space, making a nourishing dinner… so the next day I come back with fresh eyes.

Tell us about the inspiration and idea's around your new collection?

‘REBUILD’ is a considered collection of effortless pieces to rebuild a wardrobe for a new era.
As we seek to define our new normal, the time feels right to reflect. What is essential and uplifting? What do we need and desire in our wardrobes now, and in the future? More relevance; accommodating our lives as we rebuild; working from home to the office and back. Core items intermix together, and with seasons past, offering solutions for the weekend, work, and the evening, with a spirit of independence.
Inspiration was found quite literally on the back door step of the Victorian building where I live. The collection reflects the immediate; aesthetically and emotionally, in the architectural origami like details, and the elongated and exaggerated proportions which envelop, empower and comfort with a familiarity of home. Crafted to last in beautiful fabrics, with as much consideration to comfort and cost per wear as to the vision.  Raw silk is rendered relaxed, washed and crumpled.

Paper touch Japanese cotton reappears in the meticulously refined foundation styles. 

The much-celebrated Big Trench from Refresh is reimagined as a shorter must have jacket in Japanese Triacetate. Unmistakably Rory William Docherty with original artworks in billowing silk twill, and signature silhouettes. Essential, optimistic, restrained and relevant.

What do we need right now? We need to Rebuild.

Pictured is the Arca Portable Lamp by Matter Made

Who inspires you?

Inspiration evolves and overlaps. I am often triggered by what is happening around me, in our immediately community, broader environment and global social, economic, environmental climate. What is essential and uplifting, What do we need and desire in our wardrobes now, and in the future?

 Who does this serve, how and why? How will this be made and what impact does this have?

The aesthetic inspiration is diverse and often seemingly disjointed, but always a result of external observations and internal reflections. From urban environments, architecture, artist movements, literature, and the abundance of inspiration in nature.

So the process begins: investigating, reflecting, drawing, painting, continually questioning, conceptualising and circling back to creatively problem solve. 

I am driven by the desire to create essential, optimistic, restrained and relevant solutions that stand the test of time. To provide the wearer with pieces that solve a need, empower, comfort, elevate, solutions for the weekend, work, and the evening, with a spirit of independence. The desire to explore, question, conceptualise, circle back and creatively problem solve.

Who are your favourite designers and artists right now?

I keep coming back to Francis Bacon, Louise Bourgeois, Egon Schiele and Gustav Klimt, Ben Nicholson, Cy Twombly, Charles and Ray Eames Original Martin Margiela, late 70’s early 80’s Yves Saint Laurent, Yohji especially his menswear.

Tell us what you love most about your Dovetail Stool and Elements Coat Stand by Ariake?

I really appreciate the craftsmanship and simplicity of the dovetail joint. A time tested elegant joinery technique, something as a designer I admire and strive to achieve. I love the lines of the Elements Coat Stand. There is something very illustrative about it, like a Mondrian or Charles Rennie MackIntosh, like a workbook sketch come to life in its purest first concept. 

Who and where do you imagine wearing your pieces?

Honestly, my customer is very diverse. 18 year olds to 80 year olds. women, men, non-binary and transgender. From various ethnic backgrounds. The commonality, what makes them modern and timeless is they all possess self-confidence. They have an appreciation of craftsmanship and quality, and a love of creativity.

I believe my clothes allow them to express their individuality and creativity. I’ve had the privilege of dressing people for their most special moments. Being able to bring joy into someone’s life through my work, and seeing the how transformative, uplifting and empowering it can be is so fulfilling.
I also love seeing my pieces being worn every day, I make clothes to be worn. So to see someone wear the Painters Shirt with the Rework Jean out for brunch, then under their Tassel Coat out for dinner later that day- it’s really rewarding.

What is next for you and Rory William Docherty?

Having just presented at NZ Fashion week, there are a number of exciting opportunities on the horizon, at this stage all I can say is watch this space..

Pictured is the Dovetail Barstool by Ariake