Designing men’s clothing is a therapeutic, creative outlet for commercial lawyer David Taumoepeau. When he’s not embedded in the corporate world, David enjoys making clothes which he describes as a luxury street fusion of hip hop, cowboy and punk. “I’m influenced by high-end street designers such as Rob Garcia, Mike Amiri and Jerry Lorenzo,” says David. “I wouldn’t really call myself a designer though, it’s a hobby and something I do for fun.”
David’s interest in fashion began as a child growing up in Tonga where he says clothing was scarce and lacked variety. “Every time something new from family overseas arrived it was always fun to see,” recalls David. “I was that kid that emptied your suitcase when you visited Tonga!”
Five years ago, David started his fashion label ‘Numia’ (his mother’s middle name) for a small clientele of family and friends. “I’m self-taught and started out doing alterations on my own clothes then making stuff for friends,” says David. “It just grew from there.”
Debuting with his Exodus long tees and tanks in 2014, David has self-funded his fashion venture and employs a pattern maker and machinist when he has projects.
Numia will make its second runway appearance at this year’s Pacific Fusion Fashion Show.
In his first show last year, David’s collection had a distinct New York Yankees baseball uniform theme. “I had all the colours that the Yankees wear, the pinstripe, the dirty grey, the navy blue, there were twelve pieces in total,” says David. He admits it was tricky preparing for the show while holding down his full-time job, and he had to ask fabric stores to stay open late so he could get to them after work. Designing happens late at night or early in the morning, and preparations for this year’s PFFS will be no different.
“I have to fit everything else around hours that people don’t normally work, so lots of early starts before I go to work,” says David. “I’m still learning the jargon and the details of how to make clothes and trying to understand the business of fashion, and nuances and details that go into it.”
David is returning to PFFS 2018 because of the positive experience he had last year.
“I heard from fashion bloggers and other individuals after the show wanting to know where they could buy my clothes and asking what my brand stands for. I learned so much last time and I am excited for this new challenge with my team.”