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The making of The Great Outdoors Capsule - Esse

The making of The Great Outdoors Capsule

The Great Outdoors Capsule was conceived from our designer, Alicia’s passions: her love of being in nature and a life-changing experience of scaling a mountain. Using photos captured from Alicia’s tramping experience up to the glacial lake, Lake Angelus, located in Nelson Lakes National Park, the idea was to create an almost photo-realistic print with hints of impressionism to encapsulate the feelings of expansiveness and stillness when taking in the scenery and views 1650m above sea level. In this Journal post, we share more about her experience tramping up to Lake Angelus and how the capsule was conceived.


Lake Angelus

The track up to Lake Angelus was Alicia’s first overnight tramping experience. Although a physically and mentally testing experience, the remoteness of the location allowed her to fully immerse herself in New Zealand’s beautiful backcountry.

In the depths of the Nelson Lakes National Park at an altitude of 1650m lies a deep, blue alpine lake. Bordered by dramatically carved mountains and windswept tussock fields, Lake Angelus is a tranquil, mesmerising place enjoyed only by those who venture far enough to discover its undeniable beauty.

Cradled by steep valley walls, the lake is a legacy of an ice age about 10,000 years ago. As temperatures improved and the ice began to melt, an array of stunning natural landscapes formed, including the lake-filled basins, alpine tarns and rugged ridgelines that the Nelson Lakes National Park is renowned for.


Mount Robert

“Reaching Lake Angelus was no easy feat as it sits high up in the mountain ranges. Following the steep zigzag Pinchgut Track, I began my climb up the mountain, meandering through regenerating beech forest to the top of Mount Robert. After experiencing the rapid ascent, the journey then followed the gentle and broad Robert Ridge to Julius Summit (1794m) along the crumbling mountain-top terrain. This open ridge offers unblocked views of the surroundings but is exposed to the elements like the high winds which often battle the stability and endurance of even the most experienced hikers.


From here, the route became more steep with some sharp and rocky sections where you have to get on all fours and climb. You keep climbing until you arrive onto the ridge overlooking Lake Angelus - a magnificent view. The crystal clear icy waters were inviting enough for me to take a dip in, commemorating my arrival at the destination.” 


Lake Angelus View


Depending on the time of year, Angelus Hut, the 28-bunk lakeside hut is the perfect place to warm up in front of a crackling fire, before taking a short stroll up the hill to enjoy the beauty of the sunset.


Angelus Hut


“After spending a night at Angelus Hut, we descended the mountain via Speargrass Track, a popular exit route, following the valley down to Speargrass Creek. Tussock fields, mini waterfalls and rolling hills offer a slightly different take on the rugged scenery discoverable along Robert Ridge.” 


Angelus Hut


The Inspiration

Drawing inspiration from the colours and textures captured in her photos, Alicia wanted to translate this into a open impressionist style ‘painting’ encapsulating the feeling of being in the great outdoors.

An impressionist painting


The subtle overlay of the elements in the photos: the alpine tussocks, rocky terrain and glacial lake; married with the clear blue sky is an examination of the dynamic colours of the landscape. The medley of textures deliberately pulls the eye along in an ever-moving dance within the landscape, as she invites the wearer to take in the expansiveness of the surroundings experienced; the cold mountain air, and crumbling rock beneath the feet.


The design process

This limited edition print has been months in the making. Together with textile designer, Amber Rixon, the design has slowly taken shape.

Amber Rixon is a surface pattern designer based in Auckland, and has created exclusive surface design patterns for international fashion brands like J. Crew.

Amber Rixon

Her designs focus on building the emotional connection between the prints and their wearer. Inspired by her natural surroundings in New Zealand, travel, art, history and music, each pattern is created organically through a hand drawn or painted process, then developed digitally into a seamless repeat pattern. “My passion is to design patterns that draw the wearer in with an emotional connection, the way a favourite song does. For me patterns act as a visual soundtrack to life.”

For The Great Outdoors capsule, Amber used the series of photographs captured by Alicia and digitally manipulated them, overlaying components of each image with soft colours and bold strokes of texture.

We finally arrived at this pattern which encapsulates the photographs and emotions of being at Lake Angelus.


Our makers

To conceive this capsule, we have worked with our fabric suppliers and makers on many iterations before arriving at this final design.

With Amber’s expertise and guidance, we developed a few versions of the print, experimenting with colour, spacing and scale before arriving at the final print.

Working closely with our long-time fabric supplier based in China to source and select a suitable fabric that would enhance and tell the story of our print as well as meet our environmental standards, we finally landed on a 100% Rayon fabric that mimics the movement and flow of silk.

To ensure that the print and garment design are cohesive, we superimposed the print onto our garments digitally, creating a blueprint for our makers to work with.


Paper pattern


To ensure that each print is positioned perfectly on the garments, our makers have individually laid the garment patterns over the textile and hand-cut each and every piece. Finally, each component of the garment is meticulously matched up and stitched together to create a seamless artwork that flows and moves with the wearer.


This limited edition print has been six months in the making. We are now proud to unveil our first custom-print.

Come with us on a journey and be transported to a place of tranquility in The Great Outdoors.


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