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Verge Breakthrough Designers vote winner

Media Release
17 September 2008
Verge Breakthrough Designers vote winner

Air New Zealand Fashion Week’s elite select Michelle Wilson as the inaugural winner of Verge’s $10,000 Business Development Grant

Air New Zealand Fashion Week’s first ever vote has been cast, with upcoming designer Michelle Wilson (Michelle Yvette) walking away with the inaugural $10,000 Verge Business Development Grant.

Michelle was one of five designers to show this morning as part of the Verge Breakthrough Designers Show. The 25-year-old Auckland-based designer showed her Winter 2009 collection, which is inspired by the beauty of Afghanistan.

The designer, whose partner is from Afghanistan, opened her show with burqas shipped from Afghanistan especially for the show. The young designer was thrilled with her win, and said the $10,000 Business Development Grant would go towards growing her label.

“The Grant is going to really help me leverage Fashion Week and assist me with making the most out of the Verge Breakthrough Designers Show. It’s a significant step forward for me and it’s going to be invaluable in helping create exposure for my label, Michelle Yvette.”

The Business Development Grant was a new addition to the show this year, developed by Verge Directors Ian Webster and Neil Brabant.

Verge Director and Design Director Ian Webster said after sponsoring shows for Breakthrough Designers at Fashion Week for five years, the pair felt the Grant was a natural progression for the programme.

“After five years of being part of Fashion Week, we thought about what would have helped us as designers when we were first starting our business – and the answer was money. Year after year we’re blown away by the talent that emerges as part of the programme, and this year we wanted to give one of them the assistance needed to get their labeloff to a strong start.”

The votes were cast by the buyers, media and influential fashion players in the front rows of the show, who were asked to vote for the designer they thought was the most commercially viable.

The pair, who did not participate in the vote themselves, say they were thrilled with the outcome of today’s show.

“All five designers have incredible talent, and we will watch all of their careers with interest. Previous designers who’ve been part of the Breakthrough Designer Show have gone on to do extremely well – Cybele and Lonely Hearts Club are two such examples – and we have no doubt that this group will continue the tradition,” Webster says.

Each year, the Verge Breakthrough Designers Programme offers designers the mentoring and support to show at Air New Zealand Fashion Week, which includes a boot camp that covers strategies on taking your business to the next level, including marketing, financial information and how to make the most of Air New Zealand Fashion Week.


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