Sophie's Story

Sophie's Story

By Emily Partridge

Sophie's Story
Sophie is a full-time member of the sewing team. After spending her childhood living in Southern Africa, Sophie returned to Aotearoa to pursue a career in fashion.

Hi everyone, I’m Sophie.

I was born in Christchurch to Kiwi mum and an American dad. We moved to a rural village in Zambia when I was six months old. Spending the first four years of my life in an African village, three hours drive from cell service was definitely more unique than I realised.

I spent 12 of my first 18 years living in Southern Africa, moving every three or so years for my parents' volunteer work with Volunteer Service Abroad. Twice to Zambia, first in Macha then the capital Lusaka ten years later. In between, I was in South Africa and New Zealand. I'm what’s called a Third Culture Kid or TCK; someone raised in one culture, living in another, not entirely fitting into either.

Though there were definitely challenges to living overseas, I loved it. I got to travel to so many amazing countries and have friends scattered across the world. This, of course, had its trade-offs; online high school before the advent of Zoom, with 16-hour power cuts in 32-degree heat wasn’t great. But it gave me good flexibility and sense of adventure that I hope I still carry with me.

I moved home to Wellington for university and studied fashion technology at Whitecliffe for three years. I loved having free rein in a sewing workroom and often finished assignments early so I could make my own projects.

I had heard Elisha speak at the Sustainable Fashion Forum in 2017, right at the beginning of Nisa’s story. The ethos of Nisa just made sense to me, but I never realised maybe it was something I could one day be a part of.

I was very fortunate to be offered a job making costumes at Wētā Workshop straight out of uni. Film contracts aren’t forever, though, and after six months I needed something new to occupy my time. In October last year, I came into Nisa as a customer and Pam quickly realised I could sew. I was offered the production intern job starting just four days later, to help with the increased demand that appears around Christmas time.

I hit the ground running learning a whole host of new machinery during the run-up to Christmas. With so much highly specialised machinery it was definitely a steep learning curve. My favourites are the Bartack and Active seam, they have one job and do it so well! I’ve found it easy to fit in with everyone at the workshop, despite all of us having different first languages. We somehow all understand each other.

Though I have no idea what the future holds, right now I’m happy to spend my days making gorgeous, comfy undies with some of the funniest, most talented women in Wellington. 

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