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Ensemble 'Cool Person' Feature

Ensemble 'Cool Person' Feature

Read the original interview here

Anyone who has set foot in Crushes will know that conscious consumerism is at the heart of the Auckland concept store and everything they offer. Alongside a small hand-picked vintage selection, the shelves are lined with goods and crafts from over 60 local suppliers from that are "good to the earth and her people".

It's an ethos that is close to the heart of owner Rose Hope, and has long been associated with the area Crushes calls home on Karangahape Road.

"I grew up in Auckland City. I’m a proud Auckland Girls’ girl who walked to school via Karangahape Road every day, scoring bargains from vintage pop ups, and wagging school to get $1 slices o’ pizza."

Today you’ll find Rose living in East Auckland, which is admittedly "definitely a vibe change, but it was, she tells us, "great through lockdowns with beautiful little bays and an inspiring maunga I love to explore".

But you'll still find Rose in store and hanging out on the Karangahape ridge most days. "Auckland city is still central to my life."

Alongside a conscious retail offering, Crushes runs incredible community-minded events through the Crushes Social Club, offering everything from visible mending workshops to deadstock parties. In a couple of weeks time, on October 15, Ensemble is teaming up with Rose and the Crushes team to host The Auckland Clothes Swap - a fun, guilt-free solution to shopping.

We’ll all be hanging out on the (hopefully) sunny rooftop floor of the Mercury Lane Wilson carpark, with food, drinks, music and sustainable fashion stalls featuring vintage, NZ made, handmade and mindful clothing, as part of Auckland’s biggest exchanging of clothes.

Come along with up to 10 pieces of clothes that are in good condition but you no longer wear, and let someone else enjoy them. Then you can leave with up to 10 new to you pieces - it’s truly a win-win. Start picking your pieces now, and sign up here to take part.

Favourite place for a drink (and what is that drink)?

It has to be a whisky Ssour from Madame George, at golden light, sitting outside the Karangahape ridgeline. It also helps that Madame George is owned by 'The Nicest Person in Tāmaki Makaurau', Pablo Arrasco Paz, which makes having a special drink a real pleasure.

Where do you get your morning coffee - and what’s your order?

That has to be Bestie! Because ‘getting coffee’ isn’t just a drink, it’s an excuse to leave your lil’ office, talk to somebody, and gather a bit of inspiration for the day. St Kevins is such iconic spot, and the besties at Bestie are so genuine and welcoming, there’s no other place you’ll find me.

The restaurant you’ve been going to for years?

Pici in St Kevins Arcade has my whole heart. Any excuse to eat out? Pici. I get Cacio e Pici and a prosecco, and then have a nap. The true Italian way.

Favourite restaurant to visit with friends?

I love Bamboo House, a small ma and pa Korean restaurant on Commerce Street. The lighting is harsh, the music is low, but the food and service is so comforting and warm. Get some soju in me, and we good to go.

Best ‘cheap eat’?

Give me a doughnut and a black coffee and I’ll be just right. Doe Donuts on Great North Road is my newest fave – I recommend the taro donut, but they’re all so good you literally can’t go wrong.

Where do you go for ‘special’, non-supermarket food or drink?

Kosher Deli on Greys Ave is where you’ll find me! This IS the best bagel place in the city. Though my partner calls me an embarrassing goy for getting mine toasted. You’ll also find me buying matza meal for my Matzah Ball Soup, or pre-made challah.

Where do you go for some relaxation or a beauty treatment?

Nice Touch in St Kevins Arcade is a massage spot that I sometimes treat myself to, and I feel my whole body and mind become untangled. I’ve got to say Lucy is really considerate, you can feel intention behind every placement and movement. She also burns my favourite Crushes candle, which is a real win-win!

Best kept shopping secret?

Tony from Cross St Market / Babelogue / Helter Skelter fame has a small garage he opens up occasionally on Cross St full of true vintage. You feel like a real local when you stumble upon this hidden gem when it is open.

Favourite clothing store that never lets you down?

I hate to sound like I’m plugging my own store, but one of the benefits of owning a vintage store like I do is that we source and hand pick all the clothing that goes in to our store. What gets chosen and what doesn’t is if we would be happy to wear it ourselves, and that means I honestly, literally, almost never shop anywhere else.

If someone was visiting your neighbourhood/city for the first time, what’s the one place you would recommend they visit? And why…

I am the biggest fan of Scarecrow café on Victoria St East. There’s something about being in a heritage building with that huge stud ceiling, and old bentwood chairs that make me feel like I’m in a Meg Ryan movie in New York. It’s next to the Art Gallery or the Library, so you can really make a day out of it.

Anything - or anywhere - you’d like to add?

A really beautiful outing is the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Temple in Flat Bush. You get to enjoy their beautiful and relaxing landscaping, and then have a real treat and get a vegetarian lunch in their tea house. You leave feeling blissed out, well nourished, and like you left the hustle and bustle for a good moment.

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