Ringworks is a company based in Christchurch that focuses on blending fashion with chainmail to create high quality garments for any occasion. The company is comprised of several members: Christopher Smith, the chain smith and brains behind the establishment; Jenny Wastney, the head seamstress; Phoebe Powell-Moore, a designer and apprentice in chainmail, however all members of the company have designed garments in the collection. Cheyanne Neilson is also an essential part of our company, as she is our current model.
Chris Smith has linked millions of rings during his employment under Peter Jackson on the Lord of the Rings films. For two years, he tirelessly created the superbly crafted, traditionally styled chainmail armour that was such a success in the Oscar Award winning Lord of the Rings movie franchise. This experience and the success it entailed with the industry and peers solidified Chris’ urge to pull the ancient technique of fashioning chainmail into modern fashion and create more contemporary chainmail garments.
Chris has diligently researched, experimented, and pioneered highly advanced techniques to develop his art of forging chainmail into the production of custom-made garments crafted to withstand the test of time. Each ring is carefully placed to form distinctive, made to measure garments that are tailored to encase the body in strong, yet surprisingly supple couture creations that really have to be worn to be believed.
It creates a touch of magic in the air. Chris collaborated with another highly skilled designer, local business woman and costumier Jenny Wastney in 2013 to begin creating a collection. This collection features pieces that are entirely constructed from hand crafted chainmail alongside metallic features combined with more traditional textiles. Velvets and contouring fabrics are a favourite combination.
Further collaboration with a fellow Lord of the Rings alumni, and trained tailor Peter Tonks has resulted in an exceptional light weight, ready to wear range of stylish street wear and accessories. This collaboration of ideas embrace the same sense of style infused in the Ringworks brand while conducting the chainmail aspects toward a more practical, streetwear\casual style. This means that the high-quality products of Ringworks can not only be worn in high fashion events, but also in every day life.
Chris’ work is not only award-winning via the Lord of the Rings franchise; his chainmail garments also received both Merit and Highly Commended Awards at the 2015 Hokonui Fashion Design Awards show.
Jenny Wastney is a highly skilled seamstress with almost 60 years experience under her belt. She is able to produce a huge range of garments from weddings dresses to authentic period costumes from all eras. Her expertise includes pattern-making, hand-sewing, alterations, master tailoring and a huge knowledge of materials, to name a few of her many abilities.
The support of Camp Quality, a charity event for children with cancer, is another contribution Jenny makes to the community. The children receive free costumes to take on camp with them to Living Springs, and the positive feedback about the fun they have with them is boundless.
Jenny is a part of the annual Christchurch Santa Parade, constructing the costumes for the Cinderella float. She has also produced costumes and dresses for Whitebait Television, namely their popular children’s TV show What Now. Her costumes have won a huge range of awards, and more recently a selection of garments she constructed received a Merit award at the 2015 Hokonui Fashion Design Awards.
Phoebe Powell-Moore is the newest member of the Ringworks company. She is a designer and apprentice chainsmith and seamstress for Ringworks, but also acts as a temporary combination of admin and secretary. A selection of her designs won Merit at the 2015 Hokonui Fashion Design Awards. As well as designing, Phoebe also has self-published a novel and works as an artist in her spare time.
Cheyanne Neilson is our current model.