From Backstage to Backcountry: Herding by Helicopter

As promised, I’m following up Fashion Week with some behind-the-scenes stories with you.

Today we’ll go from backstage NYC to backcountry NZ,  thanks to the wonders of video and one very generous helicopter pilot. Ready?

Last week, after Karen Walker‘s Fall 2010 show I snuck back to say hello and find out some details for Dossier. Specifically, I wanted to know about those shag-alicious sheepskin vests. Karen, like my brother-in-law Doug, happens to be Kiwi–which is to say, from New Zealand. Are the sheepskins Kiwi too? I wondered.

In Sheepskin Backstage, Hatnim Lee for Dossier Style

“They are!” exclaimed Karen. But she said they had a hell of a time finding just the right ones. “We had to go all the way to the south of the South Island,” she said. “The coldest part of the country.”

In Sheepskin Backcountry, Jenni Avins for Closettour

The coldest part of the country happens to be an area I know quite well. You may think I’m just some crazy city kid that runs around garment factories and fashion shows wearing overalls ironically, but I’ve actually herded sheep with the best of the best on New Zealand’s wild South Island.

Flying over New Zealand’s Southern Alps

After I left Edun, and before I went to journalism school, I took some time off down on the farm with my sister and her husband, Doug, who herds New Zealand Merinos–just the sort of sheep that shagged up Karen Walker’s collection. Usually we can get the job done with trucks, whistles and well-trained dogs, but sometimes we actually need to hop in a helicopter, depending on where those sheepies are grazing.

You might think someone’s stolen my password, but I’m totally serious. Here’s some original footage from my morning heli-herding with Doug’s next door neighbor. We flew from his farm, way beyond the timberline, and chased (or “mustered” in Kiwi terms) the herd back down to greener pastures.

From backcountry to backstage: it’s warm; it’s wild; it’s wool.

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “From Backstage to Backcountry: Herding by Helicopter

  1. H'Rina D.

    Cool, curious post. Love “musterding” the sheep. What an amazing place!

  2. Emily

    Yay, love it. Keep up the good work 🙂

  3. kjw

    The face on that sheep! Why don’t you ever wear that yellow slicker?
    x

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