People

Designer Showcase #4 – Roots & Wings

On an autumn day in Vesterbro, Copenhagen we got to cosy up with Stine Smith, founder of Roots and Wings, to talk about how Roots & Wings was founded. It all started when she left Denmark five years ago and settled down in New Zealand. This was the beginning of a new chapter in Stine’s life. A life where love, diaper changes and nature took over for a business career in the jetset milieus of Dubai, Abu Dhabi and London. Nonetheless, she feels freer than ever.

After steadily working for years in international business, Stine wanted to use all of her experience to start her own company. She had just moved to New Zealand, had become a mom and had fallen in love with the fabric merino wool. This made her realize that designing garments for babies and young children made of organic merino wool was her vocation. The recipe was simple – combine Scandinavian design with the purity of New Zealand.

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What is the story behind Roots & Wings ?
“For us at Roots and Wings, it all starts with the fabric merino. When we first experienced how highly functioning New Zealand-Merino was and how it was the only wool our children loved wearing, we knew we had an obligation to share this wonderful secret with Denmark and the rest of the world.” And so Roots & Wings was born.

“We’ve sourced the finest organic New Zealand merino wool by visiting different farms in New Zealand. We applied the classic Danish design to create beautifully crafted merino base layers for babies, toddlers and young children.

We are passionate about the fact that merino promotes sleep and growth in babies and keeps older kids warm and dry as they go on playful adventures. It gives children roots to grow healthily and wings to fly safely.”

Organic merino bodysuit and drawstring pants (Grey Marle) // click the image to see more

What is so special about the Roots & Wings Merino Wool?
“You will not find a single fabric anywhere in the world that gives you all the benefits that high quality merino does; soft and silky on young skin (no itch!) yet strong and durable, odour resistant and easy to wash – we could go all Bubba Gump in listing the many wonderful things you can do with merino but suffice to say that, our Roots & Wings Essentials base range, has little ones covered, naturally.”

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Danish design with New Zealand craftsmanship
“We are dedicated to designing quality products that are both classic and timeless. Having sourced the purest and softest New Zealand merino we wanted to create a range that reflected the inherent genius of the wool. In our minds, why over-complicate something that is already near perfect.
Design, craft and purity are at the forefront of every decision we make. Our fabric is soft and pure, our colours are soft & natural, and we have added design details only where needed”. We also purposefully keep our base layers simple so you can add your fashion layers and expression on top.
Nature not only influences our design aesthetics but also our overall brand ethos on many levels. We travel to meet the people who farm the sheep; we even meet some of the sheep! We also personally meet the people that knit our fabrics and sew the garments. In a nutshell they care and we care.”

What is important for you when designing garments for babies?
“Making garments for babies and young children is first of all a matter of trust. No nasty chemicals or harshness should be put next to a baby’s pure and delicate skin or out into the environment they live in.
At every step in our process we select the most ethical and natural option possible with the best certifications to support it. Our goal is to create an organic merino garment that is not only pure and natural for babies, but also has the least negative impact on the world they are going to inherit
The organic merino we use is not only the purest, whitest and strongest in the world, it is also certified organic, formaldehyde free (of which we are super proud!), further softened by natural mountain water and minerals and then knitted and sewn by local merino-experts.”

Organic merino one-piece jumpsuit North Sea stripe // click the image to see more

 Where in New Zealand are you based? And how did you end up in New Zealand?
“I am living with my husband and our three young boys in Tauranga, a city on the east coast, two-three hours south of Auckland. We are a living on a big avocado orchard with 450 avocado trees.

To make a long story short – I met my husband at a rugby game in Dubai where I worked for an international consulting company and all of a sudden I ended up living in the countryside in New Zealand. Moving to New Zealand was not a big deal to me, since I was use to travel a lot, living the life as a career lady. (London, Dubai, Kuwait, Abu Dhabi etc.). Next chapter in my life included getting three kids. Fours years ago I gave birth to my oldest one and here fours years later I have three small boys. (8month, 2 and 4.)”

Stine and her three boys on their orchard in Tauranga.

What is your favorite thing to do spending time at your home in New Zealand?
”Between the boys and Roots & Wings I don’t get much time to myself, so I do try to do a few activities when I can that are just for me (and my sanity, the decibels in the house are high with 3 boys!). At the beach of Tauranga there is a little mountain called Mount Maunganui “The Mount”. I love to walk to the top of the mountain, which takes around half an hour, and just sit and watch the sunrise. There is this amazing unspoiled nature and because the mountain is surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, you have this incredible view over the white beaches and the beautiful blue sea.”

Mount Maunganui “The Mount” in Tauranga

Mount Maunganui “The Mount” in Tauranga

Is there anything you miss about living in Denmark?
“I have always been a real city girl so I miss walking in the streets of Copenhagen visiting all the wonderful cafés and restaurants – you can’t go wrong. To me it’s pure indulgence. Also, the historical breath – the beautiful buildings and all the historical monuments, overwhelms me. I did not realize how much I adore Copenhagen until I moved away. With that being said, I also love my life in New Zealand, which I think got so many other things to offer. It is simply more sufficient for my family and me. Here, my boys are outdoor most of the time getting to learn some practical life skills – how to solve different problems, how to work in the field and how to drive a tractor, a skill the Kiwis for some reason value very high.”

What are the future plans for ROOTS & WINGS?
“The plan is to extend our Roots & Wings Organic Merino collection to a wider audience. Also we are planning to launch a collection of basic wear for the 5-12 year old, a collection made of sustainable Eco Merino Wool. As for now we will use the finest merino wool from farms in New Zealand, so that we are still able to visit the farms and visit the weavers who are making the garments, who knows how to handle this delicate fabric.”

Organic merino blanket and rib top junior (Dusty Rose) // click the image to see more

Thank you, Stine, for sharing Roots & Wings journey.

You can buy Roots & Wings Organic Merino designs at our shop right here .