Rosie Dawson-Hewes

Rosie Dawson Hewes - Studio HomeIf you are reading about fashion in a regional NZ newspaper it is very likely that the little bold name credited for the story will be Rosie Dawson-Hewes. I visited Rosie at her Mt Maunganui home last month and learnt how her passion for fashion (yep…I went there) saved her from a dreary banking future and helped her discover how she could combine her attention for detail and her journalistic drive with a clothing (and serious SHOE) obsession.

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WHO: Rosie Dawson-Hewes. I’m a sub-editor, fashion writer, social media addict, coffee snob and avid shoe collector.  Could also be described as a grammar ninja and geek-by-proxy.
I originally studied psychology and art history, then spent some years as a “corporate corpse” at a bank before I realised it was killing my creative soul and went back to uni to study journalism. I ended up being a sub-editor after graduating and absolutely loved it and now run a team of 10 subs who put together about 30 community newspapers nationwide each week. Yes, I’m an organisation nerd and love a good list.

I’ve always loved fashion and wangled my way into writing about it for APN’s six regional daily papers on the side of my day job. I’ve learnt to always say yes when an opportunity arises and, as a result, I get to indulge many of my interests on a daily basis. If it doesn’t work out, you can always say no later.

Phil Dawson-Hewes – my hilarious husband of four years, who teaches graphics, design & innovation and science to teenage girls by day and collects Lego by night. He has a background in landscape architecture, though we met while he was also working at the bank (my time there was not completely ill-spent). He’s a geeky metaller and loves nothing more than a day spent playing on his Amiga 500, building Lego and having the odd bash on his drum kit. He has a very dry wit, likes to take the mickey out of me (keeps me grounded) and has the biggest soft spot for Minerva (see below).

We also have two incredibly naughty, but cuddly, Devon Rex cats – Minerva Ninja and Manolo Murderface (or Minnie and Manny). No, we don’t clip them and yes, they are supposed to look like that. His middle name is Murderface as he has a killer stare.

WHAT: Our three-bedroom 1950s brick house is incredibly warm (though I despise the tea-coloured walls). The living areas get all-day sun, which is a delight after spending years living in damp, shady houses in Wellington. We’ve lived in five different houses since we got together, all varying size and age, and this place is pretty much ideal. It’s quite big for our wee family, but the space allows Phil his “Lego wing”, or mancave, and still gives us a spare room for family and friends to come stay. We’re also lucky enough to have a wee vege bed out the back, though it’s more of a weed bed since autumn set in.

WHERE: Mount Maunganui, though not in the super-flash part! We’d never been to the Bay of Plenty when we shifted up from Wellington for my job, so spent our first 12 months here living in central(ish) Tauranga. There’s not much of a vibe in Tauranga on the weekends, so this city girl never really felt at home. In a lot of ways, the Mount is like a whole other world and I’m much happier since we made the move. We’re two blocks from the beach, which is amazing year-round, but especially in summer. Every day that I get to wander down to the beach and soak up the magnificent landscape (regardless of the weather), I feel so blessed to live here. It’s very inspiring and good for the soul.

DESCRIPTION:  My favourite aspect of our place is that it gets absolutely bathed in sunlight, which has hugely improved our quality of life and shrunk our power bill. Sunday mornings spent sitting in the sun, reading the paper with a cup of Chinese green tea in one hand and patting the cats with the other are pure bliss! While the over-ruling beige-ness is a bit meh, the house ticks all our other boxes, so we’ll probably stay here until we’re ready to buy our own place. (And then I’ll never want to see another tea-coloured wall as long as I live!)

My dear friend Anya and I once had a conversation about how people find their joy in different ways.  For Phil and I, that joy definitely comes from good design, be it art, furniture or gadgets. I love lots of different styles, but Phil is quite particular. Just after we got married, we couldn’t find a coffee table we liked, so bought legs and had the top made from beautiful pale plywood in a size that perfectly fits an open broadsheet newspaper (back when those existed!). It currently holds our TV, so two over-sized Lego bricks are our stand-in side table. We also love items that have a story to tell. We bought my 107-year-old rimu chest of drawers in a terrible state for about $100 on Trademe and Phil sanded it down and stained it. Our delicious teal teacher’s desk-cum-kitchen table and the Trubridge swing chair (which is awesome on the deck in summer with a book) were also great Trademe steals.

Most of our prints are birthday or Christmas presents to each other. Eventually I’d love a house full of art and prints, but have a long way to go yet. It’s a work in progress.

Phil’s love of Lego has permeated most rooms in the house, as his parents have a tendency to bring us back Lego-related knick-knacks when they visit his brother in the States. People often say I must be very tolerant having Lego everywhere, but I loved it as a kid and it’s the epitome of good design – I mean, it hasn’t fundamentally changed in 50 years, it’s that good. Plus, we’ve always had an agreement that I won’t question how much he spends on Lego as long as he doesn’t question how much I spend on shoes/clothes. It’s pretty much perfect!

 WHAT I LEARNT FROM ROSIE:
Natural talent and passion will only get you so far – grab a dose of determination to create opportunities for yourself.

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3 Responses to Rosie Dawson-Hewes

  1. Phreadde says:

    Nice one Rosie!

    You forgot the milkbottles, though!

  2. Grace says:

    Thanks for this! I’ve got a job that’s not a good fit for a creative person (to put it mildly) and I’m patiently working towards something much better. Great to hear about someone who made the jump successfully! Love your house too.

    • Rosie says:

      Thanks so much Grace. Though it may take a while and be hard-going (on the bank account and your time) your effort will be so worth it in the end. With both Phil and I having jumped from boring corporate jobs to ones that make our hearts sing, I cannot recommend it enough! The last thing you want is to wake up in 50 years and think “I wish I had…” And don’t forget you can always indulge your passions outside of your job. Sometimes doing what you love has to be about more than a pay packet. In short, keep going! You’re doing the right thing and won’t regret it!

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