How to nail street style, according to these nine bad-ass kiwi women

Designed with all unapologetic, girl bosses in mind, photographer Holly Burgess has created a zine featuring ten of Auckland’s most bad-ass ladies – ranging from fashion bloggers, to dancers, to social entrepreneurs, to artists, to poets, to athletes and more.

All girls are styled in the Nike Cortez, the first official track shoe the popular sportswear label ever made. The inception served a purpose that no other shoe had done before – it was designed for speed. Blossoming at the crux point of creativity and technology, the Cortez combined improved cushioning with advanced shock absorption at the heel.

Unique in design and concept, the Nike Cortez reflects the same principles of the wearers – who champion their power to be different and their best in every sense of the word.

Each with their own unique story to tell, these unapologetic females sing a catch-cry of independence, especially when it comes to their own personal style and attitude in life.

Spearheading the movement is Holly Burgess, whose perception of life through the lens has been heavily influenced by both her Maori heritage, and her multicultural upbringing. ‘I realised that the creative potential of our world is endless and that’s what excites me about life; there are so many beautiful moments just waiting to be captured,’ she explains. Since returning home to New Zealand, the creative has set her sights on celebrating the women who ‘powerfully carve out the spaces they are in with such raw, positive energy.’

‘Their energy and presence is a gift to my camera lens, and to our community,’ Holly says of the project.

Aptly titled ‘The Rise’, Holly’s zine takes an explorative approach into what drives these bad ass ladies, by pairing their powerful statements about their mantras with striking images of them styled in the Nike Cortez.

One such lady is the talented Rebe Burgess, who’s taken the fashion world by storm with her clever eye and fresh approach to the industry.

A force to be reckoned with in more ways than one, Rebe is the brains and creativity behind own accessories label ‘Rebe’, as well as juggling a modelling career. But what gets her up in the morning? ‘I’ve always been really passionate about what I do and have always been driven to make something out of what I’ve started,’ she says of her master-of-many status.

‘I think if you have the drive and dedication, then what’s to stop you!’

The menagerie of women she stars alongside in the zine are all unique in their own special way, Rebe adds. ‘Everyone has their own thing going on, and I think we all have something great and unique to contribute,’ she says.

‘I know I’m most happy when I’m living for myself… I find individuality inspiring and I guess that’s why I’m so drawn to fashion. I think fashion is so important in representing identity and is a major outlet for expression and telling your story.’

Much like the women who feature in Holly’s zine, the Nike Cortez was the first of its kind. To Rebe, this kind of trailblazing gives off an air of confidence. ‘It’s an icon in its own right, and you think of all the fucking amazing people who have and are rocking them… [you] can’t help but feel a part of the story,’ she explains.

Someone Rebe would love to add to her own story is Ilona Hamer. The talented stylist has a fan in Rebe, who says, ‘her editorial work is incredible! I would love to raid her wardrobe.’ Similarly, she counts Maja Wyn as her style muse; ‘having her wear my product or working with her in some way would probably make me cry (good tears).’

Keen to take a leaf out of Rebe’s super-stylish book and try them for yourself? The fashionista recommends teaming the Cortez with a wide leg pant and tailored blazer, or a midi skirt and big chunky sweater.

But what’s the next step in building Rebe’s empire? The 23-year-old notes a website re-launch is on the cards, featuring her deeper exploration into the accessories category. Watch this space…

Holly recruited her own team of influential women to pull the zine together, stylist Margie Cooney, graphic designer Kirsty Dawn, makeup artist Rebekah Banks, and writer and blogger Madeleine Walker, who all outline the importance of creative collaboration, and their devout respect for the women within it.

A timely reminder of how to be the woman you want to be, Holly’s zine challenges women to realise their potential, stand up for what they believe in, and break out of whatever box society puts them in.

If you were looking for a ‘go get ‘em, tiger!’, then this is it!

The Rise will be available on Holly's Instagram, or the Britomart website, and you can grab yourself a zine and pick up a pair of Nike Cortez at Nike Britomart, Loaded and Area 51 stores. 

Get your behind-the-scenes fix, below: 

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