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Miromoda spring boards Maori fashion designers

7 November 2011

Miromoda spring boards Maori fashion designers

Since its first national fashion design competition in 2009, Miromoda - The Indigenous Maori Fashion Apparel Board has been pivotal in exposing its winners and runners up to NZ Fashion Week, the country's premier fashion trade event and indeed national and international, media and buyers.

The 2009 Runner Up of the Miromoda Emerging category, Kiri Nathan, won the opportunity to debut at NZ Fashion Week. At the time, she was heavily pregnant with her fourth child but was determined to take advantage of the rare opportunity. Two years later, Nathan is set to collaborate with accomplished fashion designer, publisher, entrepreneur and businesswoman, Annah Stretton, to produce a collection of couture inspired evening gowns in 2012.

With 17 stores nationwide and two in Australia, the Annah Stretton brand is well established and a popular and distinctive label for its fusing of different genres, fabrics, textures with an element of edgyness. A high profile and determined player in the fashion industry, Stretton has built a number of companies under her brand. In the extremely competitive fashion industry and environment, Stretton is positioned to know how difficult it can be for new fashion designers and how to overcome hurdles, hence her commitment to nurturing emerging fashion design talent like Kiri Nathan.

In the same 2009 Miromoda competition, Haute Couture category winner, Keri Wanoa earned two opportunities to showcase at NZ Fashion Week. Wanoa so impressed Miromoda's head judge and founding director of NZ Fashion Week, Pieter Stewart that she was invited to be part of the Next Generation show on top of the Miromoda showcase. Launching her label Whiri in 2010, Wanoa was invited to be part of a Designer Collection Show alongside more established names like Liz Mitchell and at NZ Fashion Week 2011, Wanoa's Whiri label was the first from the Miromoda stables of fashion designers to host her first solo show.

"It's just incredible to see talent like Kiri Nathan collaborate with a big player like Annah Stretton, and Keri Wanoa in just three years, go from participating at NZ Fashion Week to having her own solo show. This is hugely satisfying for all concerned," says Miromoda Co Founder, Ata Te Kanawa.

But Wanoa and Nathan are not alone, Wiremu Barriball picked up the established and overall winner titles in 2009 that saw him invited to show at the Planet Indigenous Festival, Toronto soon after his debut at NZ Fashion Week. Under his label Tuake, Barriball has been exporting his designer shoes to Australia and Hawaii since his NZFW debut and in early 2011, opened his own retail store Revolution Aotearoa in North City Plaza, Porirua.

Miromoda Project Coordinator, Terina Cowan says there is no a shortage of success stories for Miromoda designers including subsequent outcomes for winners and runners up in the 2010 and 2011 competitions. An additional event for organisers was the recent Miromoda Fashion Extravaganza as part of the REAL New Zealand Festival that ran alongside the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

"The year has been extremely hectic and demanding but the outcomes affirm our indigenous point of difference is both commercially viable and valuable in the competitive world of fashion. It's also useful to provide positive feedback to our sponsors and be motivated for future competitions and shows, even international," says Cowan.

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