COVID-19 update: All of New Zealand is now at Red. More information.

Design students and graduates made finalists at national craft and design awards


Laura Graham - Winner of Surface Design Award


Caitlin Snell - Highly Commended Fashion Design Award

Six students and graduates from the School of Design have received recognition at the 2021 ECC NZ Student Craft / Design Awards for their creative work.

The annual exhibition showcases the best work of tertiary students and recent graduates working across a variety of craft and design disciplines. The aim is to provide an opportunity for students to step into the creative industry with a coveted award to their name, as well as some financial assistance.

The six students and graduates that became finalists are:

  • Laura Graham - Winner of Surface Design Award
  • Caitlin Snell - Highly Commended - Fashion Design Award
  • Jing Hé - Highly Commended - Fashion Design Award
  • Jacqueline Solis - Highly Commended - Innovation in Sustainability Award
  • Eva Ngamanu – Highly Commended – Surface Design Award
  • Ella Brownrigg – Highly Commended – Surface Design Award

Senior Lecturer and Programme Leader in Fashion Sue Prescott says the students have done well to receive these accolades despite another year of COVID interruptions.

“Laura picked up new skills with the extra time she had this year with various lockdowns. She learnt rug making and started to experiment with 3D forms using 2D techniques to build Leopard Vest with some old coffee sacks as her base cloth.

“The determination our students have shown to meet the challenges of interrupted studio time are commendable. They’ve had to be flexible to adapt to new ideas, materials and methods at short notice, whilst upholding their sustainable values at all times.”

Surface Design Award winner Laura Graham says her winning piece Leopard Rug Vest was created at home during the lockdown.

"Leopard Rug Vest is an excerpt of my graduate collection Sow’s Ear / Silk Purse. This collection of curated, created and converted curio reintroduces social values into obsolete found artefacts. A series of upcycling practices alongside intricate symbolic surface design are brewed for a potion that rivals the flatness of commodity fetishism.

“My vest was met with great enthusiasm when introduced back into university after its creation at home. I am thankful for my mentors and peers in the fashion department for their attentive support and zeal for eccentricity.”

Caitlin Snell, whose work was highly commended in the Fashion Design Award category, says she was pleasantly surprised with the result.

“I had entered my collection with very few expectations because the method and execution of my pieces is very different due to the influence the pandemic had at the time. It was such an awesome feeling finding out I was a finalist. I am excited to keep creating!”

Lecturer & Major Co-ordinator in Textile Design Angela Kilford, Te Whanau A Kai, Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Kahungunu, says the awards provide an insight into the future of design, through outstanding design projects by Aotearoa’s finest emerging talent.

“Ella Brownrigg’s aptly named project Patterns of the Pandemic is described by the designer as a ‘textile time capsule of the moment’. This rhetoric could be applied to the exhibition as a whole, in that all of these projects have been produced under the extra pressure and stress of a global pandemic. In this context, each and every finalist should be highly commended. A very special congratulations to winner Dan Collings whose jacquard knit project looks at ways of creating fashion by exploring the view of gender as a spectrum rather than as binary.”