Many designers and creatives share a common experience: unexpected life journeys shaping their creativity and forging fresh paths.
Young designer Trinity Whyte studied at Whitecliffe College of Arts and Design, has a passion for Wearable Arts, and planned to pursue her fashion and design career in London. However, while preparing to leave the shores of New Zealand, she inadvertently discovered a dream job that had never previously been a blip on her radar.
Trinity is one of just three BLUNT umbrella technicians around the globe and the only one in New Zealand. Admittedly, when she tells people what she does, there’s always a small pause while the fact she is an ‘umbrella repair person’ sinks in.
“It’s not really a job anyone probably even thinks about,” she admits.
“Even I didn’t really until I went for the interview. As I found out more about what it involved, I knew I wanted that job, and to work for BLUNT.”
That fortuitous meeting saw Trinity embrace what was originally ‘just a part-time job to help pay bills’ to wholeheartedly thrive on the experience. It satisfies her thirst for learning, her innate desire to create, and also ticks her preference to repair and repurpose over fast fashion.
Since landing the role, she has put her plans to travel to London on hold and is immersed in the layered nuances of her new position. She’s a modern-day (albeit younger version) of the experts on the British television show The Repair Shop.
Her workspace is at the heart of the Newmarket BLUNT Umbrellas HQ. Surrounded by a rainbow display of BLUNT umbrellas on the walls, Trinity’s repair space is packed with tiny drawers of nuts, washers, bolts, and other minute umbrella parts. As well as a sewing machine and her familiar fabric accessories, Trinity’s full tool kit resembles a master craftsman’s workshop with pliers and screwdrivers. Despite her complex workspace, she can instantly put her hand on the exact tiny part of the exact umbrella she is repairing.
Working alongside founder Greig Brebner is not only on-the-job mentorship but an opportunity to innovate alongside an engineer with a lifeline passion for design.
BLUNT has always valued a strong relationship between people and its products, grounded on durability and repairability. With an ethos around products built to last and designed to be repaired, every BLUNT umbrella comes with a two-year global manufacturer’s warranty and is fully repairable.
Trinity shares a similar mindset.
A sustainable attitude towards fashion and life has been part of Trinity’s upbringing since as far back as she can remember.
The 20-year-old grew up in rural Waikato on an organic orchard, where there was a family focus on avoiding waste.
“We really tried not to throw anything away, always aiming to find a new use for something. We were also shopping in op shops before it was cool to shop in op shops,” she laughs.
“That approach around avoiding waste was part of our everyday attitude, right back to when I taught myself to sew when I was about seven, using scraps of fabric to make clothes for dolls, and as I got older for myself.”
That early upbringing shaped a path for Trinity that she wasn’t even aware she was taking and her attitude around sustainability and repurposing materials has taken her full circle to her current role.
While sustainability and longevity are global buzzwords, for Trinity this awareness and attitude is in her DNA – and it’s also made her a perfect fit for the like-minded BLUNT team.
Her rural upbringing and the fact that upcycling, recycling, and repurposing were an intrinsic part of her childhood is evident in her fashion designs and formed the heart of the portfolio that saw her accepted to Whitecliffe aged just 17. She’s so committed to fashion and design, in fact, that she dropped out of high school early to further her skill set at Whitecliffe.
“I learned so much there and particularly loved the last year where we spent most of our time working on our end-of-year fashion show. My collection was on the relationship women have with their bodies and how we try to shape that.”
While design, fashion, and art remain part of Trinity’s everyday focus, collaborating with an engineer and creative the calibre of Greig Brebner is another valuable education, particularly as the brand looks to continue revolutionising the umbrella and packaging space with the environment at front of mind.