Tucked above the Raglan Joinery on Wallis Street is an open space workshop where fashion designer Rebecca Dowling generates the goods for Scintilla.
15 years ago was the beginning of Dowling’s creative endeavors in the fashion world, designing for her label Urchin and operating a retail store in the hub of Raglan.
Dowling, now mum of three, worked as a solo designer and business woman for eight years before joining forces with her sister Anna, also a fashion designer, who operated the label Crimson.
Clearly the clothes horse gene runs in the family, the sisters merged their two businesses into one, renamed the label, and Scintilla was born.
“ Becoming business partners with my sister was the best thing I could have done,” says Rebecca, who saw her one store in Raglan grow to four retail venues spread throughout the north island. The transition called for big changes, not only for the sisters, but the label itself. Dowling says that business changed from casual, younger clothing to clothes for real women in terms of shape and size. The market Scintilla designs for are women anywhere between the ages 30 to 60 plus.
Looking toward the future, Scintilla is bringing back boiled wool, their signature winter look. Unable to source the material for a few years, Dowling is excited to feature the material in the next season.
Anna recently promoted a design competition for Scintilla via their email database and Facebook, an online social network. The contest called for an original illustration to be featured as a border in the next Autumn range’s skirts, tunics and tees. Because Raglan is a hotbed for talented and creative people, it may come as no surprise to many that Raglan resident Mariella Mulholland won the design competition. Anna says many of the submissions were great but Mariella’s was a standout.
Known to many as Fairiella, who delights children with magical fairy birthday parties, Mariella also creates children’s wear including baby wraps and clothing. The hand drawn design she submitted for the competition was inspired by the natural beauty of New Zealand nature, coupled with the love of Scintilla clothing and the fact the clothes are manufactured in New Zealand.
How Mariella found the time to create an original hand-drawn image is confounding. Mother to three, Mariella teaches dance, tutors students several days a week and answers the phone for partner Olly Brunton’s acupuncture business. In addition, just over one year ago, Mariella welcomed her 83-year-old mother into their family home for care. Not enough time? Does not seem to be a problem for this creative and giving woman. It seems, the more Mariella does, the more Mariella does.