Stepping aside from the usual

Customisation of a vintage dress

When Sarah brought her dress to us we were instantly excited. The beading, the vintage lace and the challenge of modernising this vintage store find made our workroom very happy and up for taking this reinvention challenge.

Sarah’s perceptive sister picked this dress for 50 Euros in a vintage store in Dublin and posted it straight to her bride to be sister know she would fall in love with it.

In the initial appointment Sarah brought the dress in the hope we may be able to help/ Straight away Trudy started to pin, removing shoulder pads and giving this bride and insight to how her beautiful dress would look in eight months time.


Working closely together with Sarah we remodelled this beautiful vintage find into a wedding gown everyone should be envious of.

The team worked hard to keep the vintage aesthetic while bringing parts of the dress up to date for this modern day bride. The dress was fitted perfectly to Sarah’s shape, even with the surprise baby news a few months before the big day.

Sarah also sought inspiration from Pinterest while looking for a headpiece. She wanted lace, beaded and sitting with her dress. Off cuts were used from the hem of her original dress and pieced together to create a headpiece that tied in a bow replacing the traditional veil and finishing off the bridal look perfectly.

Over eight months of the fittings and alterations took place then Sarah’s dress was ready for it’s debut. The wedding set, Thurlby Domain, captured beautifully by the amazing Dawn Thomson Photography. These photographs speak for themselves.

We are delighted to have worked with such a beautiful bride and made her dreams come true with this stunning gown & headpiece.

Congratulations Sarah & Ferghal.


The Longest train

Our Dunedin based bride couldn’t find anyone to create her dream. A four metre long train was a part of her forever-desired gown, very fitting for her cathedral and castle wedding. From little to scale mock ups on the table to a large clear floor space rented in order to cut & create this well planned out dress.

The logistics behind such a creation include the weight of all the elements that the bride is required to haul around all day and so to keep things practical and manageable a slim style skirt was made for the reception party. After getting married in Dunedin’s first church, the fairytale wedding was held at the spectacular Larnach’s castle in Dunedin. Sarah’s bespoke gown looked right at home in this grand environment. Her dress was the perfect fit for both locations. Liz hand stitched lace motifs onto the bodice of Sarah’s dress to complete the look and trimmed the veil with a delicate piece of lace.

The team at Nemo bridal & couture love to spend the time on the detail and to solve the daily challenges. Sarah had this to say about the girls at Nemo;

“Amazing. I was nervous about getting such a big dress made and had a very specific idea in mind. The dress I got was better than I imagined and they even made me a second skirt for the reception and my veil, which were also perfect”

Congratulations Sarah & Brent

Bridal Attire – To hire, to purchase or to have custom made? This is the question.

Nemo Bridal & Couture situated in the popular resort of Queenstown where over 800 weddings are performed annually. We see a myriad of gowns and suits come in to our busy workroom for alterations or for careful preparation to look pristine for the big day.

Over the years, we have witnessed the uptake of online purchasing of wedding attire. Many of these come in to our workroom for our highly skilled seamstresses and stylists to make the purchase fit and or be restyled making good of the purchase. Many of these alterations end up the mitigating the cost effectiveness of the initial spend. Mostly a gown purchased from the Internet is from an image of a European design house that has been replicated in a Chinese based factory using inferior fabrics and construction methods. Thus resulting in you pay for what you get scenario and to be fair many of these, once tailored to fit the wearer correctly, look just fine in photographs, especially in the amazingly stunning locations we have in this area. These dresses generally aren’t the keep for posterity dresses that the bespoke custom made dresses invariably are.

So why have a gown made especially for you, and what is the process? Our bride engages in a process that we like to ensure is collaborative, fun and special.

A bridal gown is usually the most expensive dress purchase a woman makes, and so from our perspective we like to see that all the elements are of the best quality the budget allows and that the experience is comfortable in pace and consultation.

Every gown is toiled first, meaning that before we put scissors to expensive fabric we have fitted the style in a calico sample resulting in the fit being perfect for the body it is being made for. Subsequent fittings are to finalise detail placements etc. Generally, a bride needs no more than 3-4 fittings in total. These are all scheduled to accommodate the brides time management. The gown is then made in our workroom in Queenstown.

Many of our brides come to us with several images of reference to have incorporated, so in the initial consultation we discuss the features and the overall concept keeping in mind the theming, location and personalities. We aren’t afraid to suggest and advise from our experienced design eye.

To keep the integrity of the whole process real, we also offer an exclusive cleaning & packaging service that keeps the gown safe and available for future use.

Nemo has sustainability at the core of its ethos, and so has integrated a comprehensive range of hire gowns and suits in to the business. Queenstown and Wanaka have become key players in the global destination wedding market and so this range allows couples from anywhere in the world to arrive free of cumbersome travel attire. The uniqueness and quality of the gowns and suits result in beautiful imagery and a hassle-free wedding experience. We are very proactive in engaging in the circular economy in other areas of our business, this is growing in popularity for us where many couples are mindful of the resources and the impact the textile industry has on our precious planet.

Our specialised team is experienced and available to assist you in any choice you make around looking and feeling the best you can for your special ceremony. Contact us today.

Fast Fashion Slow Fashion

How has the fast fashion industry impacted on you and I? From a personal perspective it has polluted and conglomerated an already bulging wardrobe.

A few years back, the penny dropped; another large bag of clothing being eliminated from a seasonal cleanout that had no value in the second hand market and looked liked it was going to end up in the landfill. A little contemplation, some research, a few discussions and yes, as an individual I was contributing to the national average of 23 kilograms per person, per annum, to our local landfill in textile waste alone.

As the owner of an alterations and bespoke workroom this was of particular interest and worth keeping note of.

What we have observed in the last 10 years has been a rapidly changing environment. As business costs have consistently increased, the cost of clothing has decreased making the viability of repairing and altering appear less cost effective.

The rapid expansion of the fast-fashion industry has appeared to be a fabulous evolution in the western world – micro-trend fashion at cheap cheap cheap prices – however; it has not been without significant consequences.

The impact of our apparel consumption on the environment is devastating. The factories churning out hundreds of thousands of garments are full of women and children working in ghastly conditions, for little or no return. And as clothing itself has become so devalued, so has the skill of creating it.

It is not until catastrophes like the factory collapse in Dhaka, Bangladesh that people begin consider how their t-shirts get from one side of the world to a store in our little island paradise on the other side at so little cost.

Paralleled along side this, here at Nemo we began to find accessing certain fabrics and essential haberdashery items more difficult and/or more expensive. It is an interesting situation.

In monitoring this now for a number of years, I believe there is a growing awareness, people are slowly becoming more conscious consumers.

We have an increasing number of clients requesting items in their wardrobe be remodeled or upcycled because the fabric quality is superior. Our made-to-measure / bespoke side of our business is also getting busier and busier. Clients are choosing to spend more wisely and have a personalised garment made that is patterned for their body, made in quality fabrics, with design details they have chosen. It is a process many thoroughly enjoy and return for. Slowly the traditional bespoke tailoring services are becoming desirable.

So, as the world is now coming to realise that Fast Fashion, like Fast Food has social and environmental costs that are far reaching and nothing short of abhorrent, the industry is now seeing a response.

H&M, one of the world’s largest and fastest growing fast fashion businesses, has been pushing a more sustainable business concept, committing to policies which require more responsible design and production practice.

In 2013, H&M also introduced garment collection bins in-store to help drive textile recycling and ‘close the loop’ between the consumer end-use and new product design. In 2014 they had collected approximately 7,684 tonnes of used garments.

Textile WasteWater PollutionTextile Waste

Slow Fashion

What does this mean? To us it means shopping in our wardrobes. It means valuing the clothing we purchase and looking after the items in terms of care and maintenance. Knowing what to throw out and what to remodel or alter. Knowing how to shop in good quality recycled boutiques for pieces that are other wise out of financial reach.

It means shopping locally, buying from locally produced labels, understanding and taking the time to know who and where the clothing is manufactured. Supporting our local industry is so important; 50 years ago over 80% of the clothing available to buy off the rack was made right here in New Zealand. Today less than 3% is manufactured here.

For us at Nemo, producing beautiful bespoke clothing for clients who value the experience and desire to create a personal style is a passion. We are advocates of the Slow Movement; it resonates with our ethos and who we are.

An Introduction: Your Local Clothing Specialists

Welcome to our first blog – yes, late starters; but, better late than never!

For our inaugural entry we thought we would like to talk about ourselves; not something any of us are comfortable with but necessary as an introduction to our team and as an insight as to where we come from and how we came to be your local clothing specialists.

Firstly, Nemo, why Nemo? This is an old Latin verb that describes nomadic movement; and, as we like to keep updating and moving forward ‘Nemo’ seems to capture the essence of who we are.

My name is Trudy Munro. I started this business 16 years ago from humble beginnings in Arrowtown. My background has mostly been in fashion and clothing, from film, retail stores and collaborative design. Some things are just in your bones and making people look good in beautiful clothing seems to be in mine.

I am very fortunate to have in the workroom with me two very talented women. Firstly Elizabeth Boyle; Elizabeth initially studied Clothing, Textile and Theatre Studies at Otago University before heading to Wellington where she then learnt Costume Construction at Toi Whakaari (New Zealand Drama School).

When Elizabeth was just four years old she discovered that one of her Nana’s dolls was so much smaller than the others that no clothes fit the poor wee soul properly. So, little Elizabeth set out to make an outfit for the ‘Poor Wee Soul’, this is the first outfit Elizabeth can recall making, though it was made of paper, cardboard and tape we think its still pretty clever for a wee four year old!  The below photo is the small doll named Poor Wee Soul, unfortunately the paper clothes have long since disappeared but the little knickers still remain such is the long-lasting handy work of four year old Liz!


A Southland girl, Elizabeth recalls pulling together fabric scraps and odds and ends from the family dress-up box to create outfits with her sister and cousins.  Today, she still loves figuring out how things can be put together, likening garment construction to doing puzzles; Elizabeth is our resident problem solver when it comes to resolving tricky repairs and alterations.

In April 2016, Elizabeth will have been with Nemo for six years; we are lucky to have her talent and quiet, easygoing nature in the workroom.

A more recent addition to the team is Kristen McBride, such an appropriate name for a wedding dress creator of exceptional quality. Kristen was sewing with us several years back and moved back in 2014 after managing bridal workrooms in Christchurch.

Kristen’s early love of dress making led to her beginning industry studies at a young age; while still in high school she studied Proficiency in Dressmaking at Southland Polytechnic. Later she completed a Certificate in Clothing and Fashion Design at Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology.

Kristen’s passion lies in creating someone’s vision from an idea or picture through the pattern making process and having it come to life in the final garment. For Kristen, there is a real satisfaction in drafting a pattern and it all coming together as originally planned, this has been a talent of hers from a very young age.

Below is a photo of little Kristen wearing an outfit she had made herself; at just nine years old she borrowed an old pattern-drafting book from the school library and made the waistcoat, pattern and all.  Kristen also made the skirt from scratch, this time sans pattern. An absolute natural pattern maker and seamstress!

Kristen 1st Outfit

Together our team has a vast array of knowledge and experience; through our collective skill set we have garnered a variety of work and praise from our local community as well as our national and international clients.

We are passionate about our work and pride ourselves on our ability to interpret client designs and budgets into a final product that satisfies all.


Mt Nicholas Station Queenstown

2People1Life Wedding 67!

We were so thrilled to be a part of wedding number 67 for Lisa and Alex from 2people1life! This gorgeous couple have been travelling the world getting married in different countries and absorbing the local cultures and traditions. If you haven’t heard of them before you must check them out on Facebook; Lisa and Alex are a fantastic couple who love to love and live life to the fullest.

Images Emily Adamson Photography / Flowers The Vase Fresh Flowers and Foliage / Location Mt Nicholas Station / Helicopter Over The Top Helicopter Company


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