Wynn Hamlyn's New Collection Is Inspired by LSD

Well, sort of. The designer explored the US Government’s inquiries into LSD during the 1960s for the range, beautifully titled: HALLUCINOGÈNE Behavioural Modification Research.
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Images courtesy of the label

Wynn Hamlyn is a name you should know. Based in Auckland, New Zealand, the contemporary womenswear label is the eponymous line of designer Wynn Hamlyn. The brand puts importance on sustainability and modern tailoring, celebrating the modern woman and her elegance. Wynn Hamlyn answers our questions about his inspirations and latest collection, which explores the tension between serious tailoring and colorful counterculture. 


How did the creation of your label come about?

I studied Land Surveying at university and spent time working in the engineering and civil construction sector. I was making my own clothes in university and started following menswear collections, which quickly developed into an obsession with womenswear collections. Taking breaks from my job, I studied fashion for a short time and learned enough basics to formulate a plan about how I would start my label. I went back to work and worked on my collection after hours. I sold my first range to a store in Auckland during my lunch break from work.

Tell me about the inspiration behind your latest collection, HALLUCINOGÈNE Behavioural Modification Research.

This collection explores the CIA in the 1960s era and looks into the controversial examinations of the US Government’s inquiries into LSD. Classic trench coats, red suiting, and houndstooth cloth inspect the classic hallmarks of bureaucratic uniforms. The touches of print and color show the psychedelic side of this story. What begins with spies and science experiments for War potential soon becomes the ultimate trigger for what is the catalyst of the free love movement in the ’70s. I was really interested in this narrative because of how it traverses between two worlds: The secretive and deceptive versus the expansive and free. The word HALLUCINOGÈNE translated literally means mind-blowing. 

What’s your favorite decade for fashion?

Right now—the 2000s


Does your native New Zealand influence your designs?

Living in NZ generates innovation as we are so remote from the hub of the global industry. As well as that our island mentality gives us a sense of practicality. This filters into the collections and makes the clothes so wearable.

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How do you do your part for the environment as a designer?

As a brand, our sustainability efforts first and foremost begin with transparency. We believe that the first step towards sustainability should always be to be 100% transparent about where garments are made and what they are made from. Other sustainability efforts include being New Zealand-made. When we make our garments here, we can have meaningful relationships with our makers, and ensure that no one is being exploited or unfairly treated.  By working as much as we can with local businesses, we really want to support, strengthen and re-invigorate our makers and their specialized skill sets.


You’ve started expanding the brand internationally, what can we expect from you in the coming year?

Sustainably growing into the northern hemisphere is our goal. We would love to see Wynn Hamlyn in the US and in Europe.


Describe your aesthetic in three words.

Refined, progressive and crafted.


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