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Kiwi designers fashion new digital frontier

Kiwi designers fashion new digital frontier  

Local fashion designers give Windows Live Messenger digital makeover

Auckland, 20 August 2008 – In a unique mash-up of fashion and social networking, a trio of Kiwi fashion labels is weaving clothing designs into cyberspace.

New Zealand fashion designers NOM*D, Crowded Elevator, and Juliette Hogan have partnered up with online media company MSN New Zealand, bringing a distinctly local aesthetic to the instant messaging service Windows Live Messenger.

Used by over 600,000 New Zealanders, Windows Live Messenger can be glammed up according to individual fashion tastes, with people able to download theme packs incorporating elements from designer clothing collections, to modify backgrounds and Messenger emoticons.

MSN New Zealand general manager Liz Fraser says Windows Live Messenger has for some time allowed people to change its look. “But by incorporating local fashion icons, New Zealanders can express themselves in a whole new way – extending their own personal style to the web.”

Carl Thompson, principal designer of Auckland streetwear label Crowded Elevator, has fittingly gone for a digital design theme, fusing elements of his Pixelate Me summer collection, and his brand’s signature thunderbolt, to create Windows Live Messenger backgrounds, display pictures and a family of emoticons – symbols that portray different moods, allowing people to add nuances to online chat.

Thompson, a former web-designer, says the alignment of his luminous electronic design and digital communication works well. “It’s a novel way of reaching a new audience and, in a twist, takes our design style back to its digital roots.”

Dunedin-based NOM*D, world famous for its darkly androgynous noir-style designs, de-constructed past motifs to create NOM*D’s Windows Live Messenger designer theme pack. NOM*D’s seminal ‘Red’  Russian prince collection, which references Russian poster art from the early 1900’s,  features strongly. Principal designer Margi Robinson says the partnership with MSN gives the Windows Live Messenger audience a chance to see and interact with NOM*D’s style. “The idea of extending our designs to social networking is interesting. It represents the next big thing. It’s a whole new way of talking and being in contact, so people can use our designs to express their own style.”

Women’s fashion designer Juliette Hogan combined different elements of her Summer 2008/09 As You Were collection. In keeping with the elegant minimalism characterising her designs, Hogan’s Windows Live Messenger designer theme pack incorporates concept drawings from her sketchbook, fabric swatches, and photos of her summer collection dresses. “I am really excited to be able to bring my sketch aesthetic through to digital media and communicate how I work to the Internet world.  I’m proud to be a part of this with MSN,” Hogan says.

MSN is extending the initiative to New Zealanders, who can submit their own personal theme pack designs, the best of which will be available on Windows Live Messenger.

Crowded Elevator, NOM*D, and Juliette Hogan design theme packs are available on Windows Live Messenger now.



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