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Stellar Fashion Student Stars in Awards


Misty Ratima with her winning design, modelled by her daughter Ocean Ratima. (Photo: Diane Wilkie)

Media Release

Stellar Fashion Student Stars in Awards

A star achiever in the Hokonui Fashion Awards, EIT student Misty Ratima was inspired by the Māori celebration of Mātariki.

The final-year fashion design student won the national competition’s Auaha Special Award, an open category which celebrates innovation and creativity. Her entry, a dress and steep-collared jacket, features a front panel of intricately woven diamond shapes symbolising the Seven Sisters of Mātariki or Pleiades cluster of stars.

The colours used for the woven detail are red and tan, alluding to Papatūānuku (Earth Mother), white and silver for Ranginui (Sky Father) and the shimmering stars.

While the mother-of-four occasionally sews at home for herself and her children, aged five to 17, her entry in the Hokonui Fashion Design Awards was the first time she had submitted work in competition.

A main focus for Misty’s fashion design is her Māori culture – she is of Ngāti Kahungunu descent and her hapū is Ngāi Te Rangikoianake of Te Hauke. Her first year of tertiary study was at New Zealand Fashion Tech in Auckland where, she says, she learnt sewing techniques and garment construction.

Returning to Hawke’s Bay after 17 years in Auckland, she graduated last year with her Bachelor of Arts (Māori) at EIT’s Te Uranga Waka.

“Ideas and concepts for my designs are derived from what I learnt there,” she says.

After completing the degree, Misty enrolled in EIT’s Certificate of Fashion Apparel.

“I’m enjoying the programme and it’s teaching me small business, design and patternmaking skills.”

Misty is also enjoying the dynamics of a class where students range in age and focus, from creative school leavers to career-oriented mature students.

When she finishes her studies at the end of this year, she plans launching her own business designing and manufacturing contemporary streetwear.

“Hitting my teens in the ‘90s, I had developed a strong passion for hip hop and R n B. It wasn’t just about the music though. I fell in love with the fashion, dance moves, grafitti art, music videos, street culture and freedom of explicit expression.

“My dream, is to create a streetwear label that encompasses all of those elements, which can be differentiated and identifiable through contemporary Māori design. It’ll be a clothing label that is uniquely Aotearoa.”

Living in Clive, Misty sees herself based in Hawke’s Bay for the foreseeable future unless, of course, a once-in- a- lifetime opportunity presents itself.

She uses a lot of block colours in her designs and the inspiration for embellishing garments includes tukutuku panels, tāniko weaving, traditional stories and natural surroundings. And she says her mother, Mihi Ratima, continues to be a huge influence on her work – “she is my creative muse”.

“Winning the Hokonui award was unexpected but exciting,” Misty says. “More than anything the win recognises the creative aspect of my design and I created it with my Māori cultural heritage in mind.”

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