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Teenage designer's work on show at NZ Fashion Week

Second-year fashion design student Havilah Koledoye puts the finishing touches to one piece of her collection to be shown at New Zealand Fashion Week.

An example from Havilah's collection

Gemma Cornish (front) at the launch of her swimwear collection she
markets under the name Gemma Lee.

Second-year fashion design student Havilah Koledoye’s talent and past experience helping out behind the scenes at New Zealand Fashion Week has earned her a spot at the event’s New Generation show.

The show being staged on three separate occasions at this week's premiere event for New Zealand fashion, will see models exhibit the 19-year-old’s work with 12 different outfits, each with its own distinctive look.

Each, must also must follow a certain criterion for Havilah, who studies at Massey University’s College of Creative Arts, and has spent six months creating her collection.

“I only try to design what I would see myself wearing, but do want it to be different as I don’t want it to be something you can see someone already walking in.”

Fashion design major coordinator Sue Prescott says Havilah’s assurance on the subject is indicative of her single-minded determination.

It’s unusual to get a student showing whilst so early in their education. Havilah has been very involved in producing her own designs through Project Fashion Wellington [a short-term mentored fashion design incubator] and now New Zealand Fashion Week.

“Havilah shows a maturity with her design practice, not only in defining a clear market demographic for her collection, but also in her ability to put together a cohesive yet versatile collection in a wide range of fabrics.”

Her experience with fashion shows dates back to the age of 13 when she first entered her designs in a show organised by the YMCA in Auckland. Originally from the UK, Havilah, whose name is Israeli in origin, also spent time living in South Africa where she has family on her father’s side.

Four years ago, she first volunteered at New Zealand Fashion Week as a production assistant, and every year on, the organisers became more familiar with her presence and aware of her work and suggested she show her own designs at the elite event.

After she graduates Havilah would like to be able to launch her own label and establish her own fashion business. “I really want to make this into a career.”

She will be joined at New Zealand Fashion Week by College of Creative Arts graduates who are showing in the ID Dunedin Retrospective Show.

They include Steve Hall, who graduated in 2013, and two years later was presented with the International Emerging Designer Award at the Otago event. Later that year he won the supreme prize at the 2015 Miromoda Fashion Design competition for Māori designers. Gemma Cornish, who uses the name Gemma Lee for her distinctive swimwear designs was a winner at this year’s Dunedin show, and is also part of the retrospective event.

It continues a memorable year for the 22 year-old who won the most commercial collection prize at the awards for her women’s fashion wetsuits. Earlier this month she officially launched her own designer fashion label while her creations were also featured in the pages of Vogue Italia magazine.

Other graduates showing at New Zealand Fashion Week include Emily Miller Sharma who graduated in 2006 and Natalie Procter who operates under the label ‘Mina’ and will be showing her designs at two separate events.

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