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Six Massey design graduates to show at Fashion Week

A garment from Pania Tucker’s Alpine Stress collection, which won two awards at the weekend’s Miromoda Design Competition. Credits: Photographer Masanori Udagawa, Model Rikitia Holloway

Six Massey fashion design students will take part in New Zealand Fashion Week in August, including three selected for an inaugural graduate show. Another three students, who won awards at the Miromoda Design competition for Māori designers, will also be featured at Fashion Week.

 The head of fashion design at Massey’s School of Design, Sue Prescott, is pleased that so many of her students will have an opportunity to take part in the prestigious event.

 “It is very hard to get into the industry and this is an opportunity for emerging designers to profile themselves on a platform where there are key players from the fashion industry and international media and buyers,” she says.

 The three Massey students who won awards at the Miromoda Design Competition held at Pātaka in Porirua on Saturday, will be part of the Miromoda Showcase, a popular big-ticket show at Fashion Week which attracts an audience of 1000 fashionistas and people from the fashion world.

 Len Houkamo, a fourth-year design student and Alana Cooper, a 2015 Bachelor of Design Honours graduate won awards as Emerging Designers with merit.

 Pania Tucker won the Emerging Designer award and the A.G. Park award for innovation with her collection “Alpine Stress”.  The fourth-year Honours student used distressed denim and other fabrics to articulate a Māori worldview about the environmental issues facing Tongariro National Park, where her Taupō iwi, Tūwharetoa, comes from.

 “The fragile ecosystem is under threat from all of the visitors, particularly the number of people who walk the Tongariro Crossing. I used denim to show the strength and permanence of the land, but it is distressed and laser-cut to show that, under stress, it will break down over time.

 “We believe that Tongariro is our ancestor and I put the words ‘Walking on an ancestor’ on the back of a jacket to remind people to tread carefully. Wool was used to highlight the unique environment. There is a lot of flora, such as tussocks, unique to the area and I used a delicate gold knit lamé to show the fragility of the flora,” she says.

 “We love the story behind her collection, the innovation she showed and the fact she pushed the boundaries with the number of different looks,“ says Ata Te Kanawa, founder and organiser of Miromoda.

 The founder of New Zealand Fashion Week and head of the 2016 Miromoda competition judging panel, Dame Pieter Stewart, has embraced the need to provide a platform for a Māori voice in fashion. This has gone from strength to strength, Prescott says.

 For the first time, Fashion Week will feature a Graduate Show for the country’s top fashion design graduates. Massey is sponsoring the top three graduates from 2015, Sarah Parker, Grace Redgrave and Megan Stewart.

 “They are all hard-working and driven young women. They will be refining and building on their graduate collections for the Fashion Week show,” Ms Prescott says.



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