Miss September is Kate Wilson - creator of The Backroad Blog and wool advocate. By day you can find Kate inside some of the country's more remote wool sheds and by night she's editing images, working on collaborations with fashion labels or planning her next styling job. This is one busy young rural lady who has created a life immersed in her two passions - fashion and agriculture.
How did THE BACKROAD BLOG start?
I grew up on a high country property in North Otago and this is where I initially developed a love and passion for merino wool. I decided to study a Bachelor of Agricultural Science at Lincoln University after high school, graduating in 2014.
Having an equal passion for both farming and fashion left me feeling rather confused about what kind of career path I should follow straight out of university – this is where The Backroad Blog was born. I set up the site (with the help of a web designer) in 2014 but kept it pretty quiet for the first 6 months until I found my feet. Two years on, I now use the blog to express my love of fashion through styling, modeling and photographing garments. I also use the blog to educate readers on the origin of wool and the benefits of wool in garments – I’m always on the hunt for new and unique wool brands to promote!
My life is currently a pattern of seasonal agricultural work (wool handling and tractor driving) and overseas travel – The Backroad Blog as a business fits in perfectly with this lifestyle because it’s portable! I only have to work on it when I want to and I can take it everywhere with me!
Any advice for other ladies wanting to get into the fashion industry?
If you don’t want to actually study fashion (become a designer etc.), starting a blog is a good way to get involved in the fashion world at your own leisure! The Backroad Blog has opened up so many opportunities for me in the last two years; invites to fashion week, brand collaborations I never imagined possible, stylist work for music industry professionals and so much more! The beauty of a blog is that it can be what ever you want it to be – there are no rules!
What are your favourite things about the two different industries you work in (agriculture and blogging/fashion)?
I love diversity! I enjoy the realness and practicalities of ag jobs and the people I get to work with but I equally love the glam and fast pace of the fashion world.
Can you give us one family secret recipe? Pretty please...
Peanut Brownie Biscuits
1 Cup Sugar
1 ½ cups Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
2 heaped tablespoons of Cocoa
1 cup Peanuts (pre-roast these!)
½ teaspoon Salt
Beat butter and sugar to a light and fluffy cream, then add egg, flour, baking powder,
salt, peanuts and cocoa. Roll into balls and press lightly with a fork – bake at 180 for 15 minutes.
One thing you always have in the freezer?
Homemade pizza base dough! I loooooooove pizza. Also, vegetable soup and cheese rolls.
What happens in a normal day with Kate Wilson?
I don’t think there is anything ‘normal’ about a day with Kate Wilson (haha). At the moment I’m working with the local blade shearing contractor so my days start anywhere between 5am-6am – we often travel for over an hour to get to some of the more remote wool sheds. In the evenings I try to spend time on blog work, whether it be editing images, connecting with brands or other stand alone stylist jobs.
What's your farm attire?
A hoody under a homespun woollen jersey, jeans or Canterbury pants/stubbies and slip on boots with Point6 merino socks!
5 'must haves' in in a wardrobe?
- Black jeans
- Vintage denim jacket
- Lightweight merino jumpers – neutral colours (this season I’m wearing Uniqlo but Country Road always do great basic merino jumpers).
- A skin coloured merino singlet (I literally wear it under everything – the ultimate base layer!)
- Statement leather ankle boots
Your favourite NZ designer?
It’s impossible to pick just one! Trelise Cooper, Mons Royale, Tanya Carlson, PERRIAM, Hailwood, Salasai, BlackEyePeach, Huffer plus my new favourite up and coming designers Lucilla Gray, Kendall Watt, AO and Yu Mei.
Photo credit: Emma Coutts at Antlers and Images