Carolyn Rowland, founder and designer at Cazinc The Label
There’s a certain irony in the fact Carolyn Rowland has become something of a style icon across Australia and New Zealand, with a growing following of women keen to embrace her effortless style and her attitude to fashion.
The irony is not that Carolyn is inspiring others with her own dress sense (it’s refreshingly self-assured with an edge of her bold personality) or that others crave her personal wardrobe and her ability to tweak pieces with a sense of sophisticated fun.
The irony is the fact that Carolyn’s own personal stylishness is key to the success of her business, where she encourages women to embrace their uniqueness, their own shape, personality, and fashion likes.
Having evolved from a professional stylist to founding Cazinc The Label has seen Caz (as she is affectionately known by almost everyone who meets her) inadvertently become a fashion designer, style icon, and modeller of her own designs (or muddling as she laughingly refers to her attempts at modelling).
Having spent more than 15 years establishing an impressive reputation as a stylist, surprisingly, the Australian-based businesswoman had no early aspirations around designing her own brand.
Yet here she is, with her searingly successful self-designed collection making an impression on both sides of the ditch. And more than that – her “little label that I started in 2018 just for my styling clients really has somehow gone on to grow into a global brand in just five years.”
It’s no great surprise really – the winning formula is around pieces designed to flatter and celebrate the feminine form, with quality fabrics and designs that transcend seasonal trends. Caz is equally passionate about ethical standards and steering women away from a fast fashion mindset.
Last year’s quick visit to New Zealand with a small capsule collection of Cazinc pieces resulted in immediate success and a 500% increase in sales across New Zealand.
“Things like that really do make my heart sing,” says Caz. “It’s been incredible and so wonderful to see the label resonating with so many women.”
As a stylist, Caz has always avoided impulsive fads and momentary fashion. Her natural inclination has always been towards classic, future-proof investment buys, with a timeless style, which manages to be elegant and sophisticated, yet without being unapproachable.
“While I was working as a stylist, I was struggling to find exactly what I was looking for – timeless, quality, ethical designs, and affordable Australian womenswear labels.
“I knew my clients wanted classic, contemporary styles they could mix and match and keep in their wardrobes season after season. But they also shared my passion for slow fashion and quality garments made to 100% ethical standards.”
While already championing a number of Australian labels with her styling business, Caz decided to create the elusive pieces she was looking for herself and the launch of Cazinc The Label followed in 2018, with a curated collection of trans-seasonal wardrobe staples designed to work for any occasion and celebrate every figure.
Since then, the label has evolved to include sharp, tailored investment pieces and everyday basics.
“However, I have remained committed to my original vision: classic cuts, beautiful fabrics, and high-quality, eco-conscious products accessible to every woman.”
Caz’s attention to detail has seen her business rocket to success, taking out a swag of awards along the way (Australian Label Of The Year 2022 – Innovative and Excellence Awards UK; 2021 and 2022 Ethical Label Of The Year – Australian Enterprise Awards; and 2022 Most Ethical Australian Clothing Company – APAC Insider Business Awards).
It’s been a hugely rewarding process and along the way she has never lost her genuine enthusiasm for helping women rediscover their self-confidence and find clothes they truly feel (and look) fantastic in.
FashioNZ finds out more.
What were your early goals for your brand?
My label had to be 100% ethically made and eco-conscious, which came with a price point.
I also wanted to encourage a ‘buy less but better’ mindset and educate shoppers about the lifetime value of products and help break the mindless consumption cycle.
Consumption leads to waste and build-up in our landfills, not to mention the workers behind those pieces are often poorly treated and underpaid.
How have your early business goals evolved?
Our early goals are still a key focus of our business direction. Our values have evolved as we have learned new ways to be more ethical. As the industry grows, we grow.
It’s a mission on the company’s journey to environmental awareness through ethical, high-quality design. The focus is on minimal waste during production and using sustainable fabrics for quality, breathability, and durability. All materials are sourced from equally eco-conscious suppliers. The brand encourages consumers to take a green approach to fashion by investing in clothing that will last in style and integrity. There are no plastic bags in use, only paper or fabric, and we send our clothing in biodegradable dirt bags. We recognise that it is an ongoing journey to be an eco-conscious fashion brand. As such, we commit to looking continuously for improvements across the production and supply chain.
What sparked your early passion as a stylist?
My passion for styling began when I was at school. Although I was a tomboy and dressed extremely edgy, I was always styling my friends with clothes, hair and make-up.
I am also a qualified Neuro Linguistic Programming Master Therapist and have a diploma in Business and Life Coaching, all beneficial when running a business day-to-day.
Describe your personal style?
My personal style is classic with a twist, which can change daily. I dress for how I feel on the day. Some days my style is elegant; others can be pretty edgy. I love wardrobe staples and the style on repeat, but I always add a wow to ensure my outfit is perfectly styled from head to toe.
Who are stylish women you admire and why?
There are many stylish women I admire, but the one who stands out for me is Coco Chanel for her minimalism and how she ‘thought out of the square’ – a pun as she made perfume bottles square instead of the fashionable round bottles. Coco had her vision of fashion and wasn’t afraid to follow this vision, which I often think about while following the CTL journey. Oh, and I love how when Coco passed away, they found only five suits in her wardrobe, proving you can be a fashion icon without wardrobes full of clothes. Less really is more.
What’s some great advice you have been given?
The best advice I was given and would give is only to please some. In the label’s early days, I felt the pressure to ‘please everyone’, but as the business developed and matured, I realised that this was not only unattainable in the long term but could impact the brand’s loyal shoppers. So, rather than please everyone, I have niched my market predominately to women over 30.
We have filled a gap in the market with our clothes designed for women whose body shapes have changed, women who don’t want to dress like their daughters or in clothes that make them look old, our clients are elegant but still want an element of rock chic. So we have a saying that we show off their shape, not skin. And our size range is 8 to 16, with some size 18 styles.
What are you most proud of about your brand?
There is so much to be proud of with our label. Every day I learn something new. I love how we take the trendiest styles from the streets of Europe and make them timeless, in everyday pieces to suit most body shapes. Every piece is unique and shifts from couture to function in the blink of an eye. And I am proud we take a stance against fast fashion. I am a mother of four exceptional children (adults now) and want to look after the planet for their future and educate the importance of slow fashion.
How and when did you get involved in modelling?
Great and interesting question. I am a self-made model or “muddle”, as I call my modelling. I began modelling styles to help other women and showcase clothes for my styling clients, showing how the clothes look on real women with curves, which I have followed with my label.
What life lessons have you taken from that aspect of your life?
I learned how complex modelling is. I admire the strong work ethic of models and have grown to love all the models for our label. But with my modelling, I have tried not to be too hard on myself as at 55 years young. The lesson I have taken from modelling is to be grateful for my healthy and strong body. My tummy is my trophy as it gifted me four incredible and beautiful children.