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Powerhouse of Design Talent


Joseph Douglas incorporated modern streetwear and historical and traditional elements in his Clan Collection.

Media Release

Powerhouse of Design Talent

Design talent powered a spectacular end-of-year fashion show staged at EIT (on Wednesday, November 29) – an extravaganza featuring work produced by a first cohort of diploma students in just nine weeks.

Challenged to create a collection of three related outfits, the ideaschool students drew on historical, Pasifika and personal narratives in an array of streetwear, evening wear, menswear and teen wear designs.

Programme coordinator Cheryl Downie says the Project Runway-like assignment was framed up like a real-life industry scenario.

Students were asked to design, pattern-make, construct and self-direct the entire production process. That included accessorising the outfits, sourcing the models and directing EIT body and beauty and hairdressing students who assisted with make-up and hairstyling.

“Some set themselves difficult challenges,” Cheryl says of the more demanding design and construction techniques involved.

Bex McNeur admits she had “gone really complicated” with her No Longer Slaves collection – an expression of her passion and motivation to restore integrity to an industry she feels is dominated by cheap throwaway fashion and that heavily exploits workers and the environment.

One of seven certificate graduates who returned to EIT to study the newly-launched diploma, Bex sourced certified ethically made, organic and sustainable fabrics for a collection that, she says, celebrates inclusiveness, craftsmanship, respect and hope.

Encompassing contradictory responses to dealing with chronic illness, Amy Baker’s Luminous Affliction collection combined light and dark influences in representing grunge/rocker fashion as elegant style.

Another returned student, Colleen Isaako was inspired by a recent visit to her homeland of Samoa in creating a collection that was “really summery, modern, flowered”.


Colleen Isaako named her Teuila collection after a flower in Samoa. She was inspired by a visit to homeland earlier this year. Shown here is one of her three outfits, a dress featuring a gathered bust with ruffle sleeves in a white floral print.

Emma Cummings targeted the 14 to 16-year-old age group with her “girl flower power look”. Pink camouflage fabric was coupled with denim in her Camdem collection, featuring mini-skirts with bib tops and short shorts with frayed hems.

“I have a passion for designing kids clothing,” Emma says.

Previously from Auckland, Joan Oxspring moved to Hawke’s Bay this year to give herself and her daughter a better way of life. Her Journey collection was a snap shot of her intended direction as a fashion designer – unstructured pieces that lent themselves to layering.

This year’s supreme winner of the national Māori fashion design competition Miromoda, Misty Ratima opened the show with garments created as a final-year Bachelor of Visual Arts and Design student.

Having first gained a Bachelor of Arts (Māori) from EIT’s Te Ūranga Waka, Misty went on to study screen production and then progressed to the visual arts and design degree.

Misty was invited to take part in this year’s New Zealand Fashion Week and at the 2014 Hokonui Fashion Awards she won the national competition’s Auaha Special Award, an open category celebrating innovation and creativity.

As in the past few years, the annual student fashion show was held in EIT’s Trades Building, a setting that imbues the evening event with industrial chic.

“Same venue, different layout,” says Cheryl. “We’re always experimenting.” The runway configuration was based on her fellow tutor and fashion show director Christina Rhodes’ experience of this year’s Fashion Week in Auckland.

As their year-long programme draws to a close, the diploma students will be hoping to emulate the success of other EIT fashion graduates who featured at the week-long event in Auckland – Victoria Notoa, the creator of the Notoa brand, who completed the two-year Certificate in Fashion Apparel in 2013, and Kirsha Whitcher, who studied at EIT in 1995.


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