Meet Shjark Designer Amber Gardner
Shjark; Clean lines and impeccable tailoring with a rock’n’roll sensibility.
New Zealand designer, Amber Gardner cut her teeth in the fashion industry designing for labels Murray Crane and later Workshop. This gave her a solid foundation for when it came to develop her own label, Shjark, in 2015.
Focusing on expert tailoring in high-quality fabrics, Shjark maintains a paired back outlook. The Shjark philosophy is an aesthetic that can effortlessly fit into your everyday life, while still projecting a cool city vibe.
Magpie Style spoke to Amber about her design ethos and fashion philosophy.
Interviewed by Louise Heller
Above: Amber's bright and light studio boutique in Grey Lynn, Auckland.
Q: How and where did you start out in fashion?
A: I started my career as a designer and pattern cutter for Murray Crane at Crane Brothers, many years ago now. I was responsible for the numerous menswear brands under his umbrella at the time, including infamous label Little Brother, and naval heritage line Gubb & Mackie. During this time, I developed a love of tailoring and a fascination with utilitarian and vintage clothing, which forms the foundation of my design psyche today.
Q: Where did the name Shjark come from?
A: The ocean is my happy place. Pronounced like the French name Jacques, it references the naval explorer Jacques Cousteau and his love of the ocean.
Q: What is your favourite thing about being a designer?
A: Constantly creating and improving a product for my favourite people in the world – strong, independent, busy women.
Q: What is the downside of fashion in your mind?
A: I don’t consider what I do to necessarily be ‘fashion’. I’m making beautiful, classic styles, designed to be in your wardrobe much longer than the latest fad fashion. Shjark is fashionable, but not driven by fashion.
Q: What is Shjark’s fashion thumbprint?
A: Shjark is a line of modern wardrobe essentials. Designed to be completely of-the-moment and not reliant on trend.
Below: Shjark Bolivia Jacket in Natural linen, $449
Q: What are your favourite pieces in the SS 19 collection?
A: I'm excited about the Bolivia Jacket. It will be my go to piece this summer for any occasion. I really love the Bonnie blouse; the silk cotton fabric is lightweight and a dream in the summer. It’s easy care too which is great for busy lifestyles.
Below: The Bonnie Blouse in Navy $339
Q: What and who is your biggest source of inspiration.
A: My partner, photographer, Robert Hart inspires me tremendously. He creates beauty everyday, whether for his clients or his own art. His eye and opinion is one I rate over any other.
Q: Your style icon?
A: Each season I have a few different muses – this summer it was Marianne Faithfull and the various other ex lovers of Mick Jagger. I just adore Caroline de Maigret. Having said that, my mother is the woman I admire most. She wears almost 100% Shjark these days and looks absolutely stunning; always.
Pictured below: Sjhark Boliva Jacket in navy $449
FIVE IN FIVE
I grew up in…..The far North.
Favourite song I sing out loud to in the car……'Oh! Sweet Nothin’ by The Velvet Underground.
Favourite thing to do in my free time is…..West Coast beach walks.
My wardrobe staple item is……Shjark Column Tees in all colours.
My greatest life advice I’ve been given…..Work hard and be kind.