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Verge New Generation Designers 2004

August 11 2004

NZ's Fashion Idols - Verge New Generation Designers 2004

They're fashion's equivalent of "NZ Idol" winners and on Monday night the 2004 Verge New Generation Designers took centre stage at the designer announcement for this year's Air Zealand Fashion Week.

Eight designers have made the cut this year with an additional group from the Westfield Pasifika stable of emerging designers expected to be named shortly.

The Verge New Generation shows this year will feature television interior designer, Sally Ridge in a joint fashion venture with two others, hip hop music label Dawn Raid who will profile their distinctive South Auckland style and an award winning teen designer with a family history of sporting success.

There's well cut tailoring from a man with a diplomatic background, high glam evening wear from a couple of rag trade veterans, edgy Dunedin fashion in a new form and clothes that will bring an ecological perspective to the catwalk plus a gem of a label that's already become a shining star on the Auckland retail scene.

Placement in this coveted group is for new labels that show not just promise but a solid plan for sustained production and business thinking.

As one of the most anticipated shows during the collections, the Verge New Generation designers know they have a hard act to follow in the wake of high fliers like street label Federation and last year's star Helen Talbot who received rave reviews from the acclaimed I-D magazine.

Sponsors of the group Verge return to support the group, not just in name but as advisors.
"Mentoring last year's group gave us a real buzz and we are looking forward to supporting this year's crop of new faces from selection right through to sales during the event." says Ian Webster, Verge designer and managing director.

Webster has already held a one day 'Boot Camp' for the newbies to ensure the group don't underestimate the task ahead. As task master, he's highly qualified after 20 years in the NZ fashion industry as well as establishing the successful Verge label.

Webster, who was on the selection panel, says: "I am very excited about the group's design talent and level of energy. Nurturing new talent is vital for the NZ Fashion Industry to move forward."

As part of their preparation for Air New Zealand Fashion Week, each designer has been given a Verge New Generation Survival Kit.
The kit will include a Survival Handbook covering logistical issues associated with the show, a limited edition t-shirt, and some other novelty items guaranteed to produce a laugh during the stressful build up to the shows.

At 18, Nikki Lawrence may be the baby of the group but with her label, Nikki L. she has won every design competition she has entered in the last eighteen months against some fashion heavy weights.
Her level of competitiveness is clearly inherited from her mother, Marilyn Pryde, a former kiwi tennis sensation at Wimbledon.
Supported by her sisters on the management and marketing side, Nikki is currently studying on a design scholarship at AUT.

More used to showing her skills for interior design on our TV screens, Sally Ridge is widening her horizons to the catwalk. With two friends, both sharing a fashion background, Ridge has created a sporty label James&August for easy wear, colourful underwear.

The nostalgic designs of Noire come from experienced design team John Dyball and Jill Brogan-Lees. This label is set to inspire even the most cynical romantics as it delivers a Dietrich inspired collection sure to evoke a cult following.

Dawn Raid are best known for their homegrown South Auckland hip hop music. Admittance to the Verge New Generation group signals a move into streetwear which their fans hope will deliver as much 'attitude' as their music.

One of the best kept secrets in Auckland is out, with the inclusion of Pearl in this year's line up. The name Pearl encapsulates clothing that has integrity, longevity and style - making women of all ages and sizes feel fabulous according to the design team of Beth Mikkelson and Cris Roberts. If the loyal following for their Grey Lynn retail outlet is anything to go on, then Pearl is a label you'll be hearing a lot more about!

The South Island is represented by Pip Beaton from Dunedin. A graduate of that city's strong Fashion Incubator programme, Pip's collection reflects high standards of cut and finish combined with the edgy quirks Dunedin designers are best known for.

Fellow mainlander, Liz Collins' Chalky Digits label from Christchurch is dedicated to connecting urban clothing with the environment. Fiercely proud of the natural wonder of the South Island, her collection is set to represent nature at its finest.

Tudor Clee is one of a growing number of designers specialising in menswear and the only one in the Verge New Generation Group to do so. Tudor decided to pursue fashion, curtailing a career in IT which found him presenting at an APEC conference recently. So many of the other delegates wanted to know where they could buy his clothing, he decided to make his hobby a commercial reality.


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