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Passion for fashion earns coveted scholarship



Passion for fashion earns coveted scholarship

A budding Hamilton fashion designer with a flair for fancy dress is the Wintec Gordon Chesterman scholarship recipient for 2017.

Brydie Senior, a second year Wintec student studying the Bachelor of Media Arts, Fashion Design, is the winner of the annual scholarship.

The 27-year-old, who is from Matakana but relocated to Hamilton when she began studying, originally set her sights on a career in arts therapy.

However, after completing an occupational therapy degree in Auckland, Brydie didn’t believe she’d found her fit and a trip overseas proved to be the pivotal turning point for her career change.

“Occupational therapy just wasn’t quite for me - I wanted to do something creative. I went travelling with my husband overseas and met a lot of people who had studied textile design and fashion design and their stories really inspired me.”

She’d always been interested in the creative industries and says her interest in fashion design was first sparked when her younger sister took it as a subject at high school and Brydie would admire all of her creations.

Her passion was later cemented when she received a sewing machine for her 21st birthday and went on to complete a beginner’s dressmaking class.

In 2016 Brydie took the plunge and enrolled in the three year degree at Wintec.

“I figured I was still young enough to completely change my direction.”

And she hasn’t looked back.

In her 18 months of studying she’s been the recipient of numerous Wintec awards, has interned for top New Zealand designer Trelise Cooper and been involved in fashion shows like Fashion for a Cure - while still finding the time to volunteer at the Hamilton Operatic Society costume shop.

She says she has always liked the idea of costuming and originally believed that would be the industry avenue she would take.

“I have never been a really fashionable person - I was the girl at school on mufti day who wore dress-ups.”

But since starting the degree she’s had a taste of other areas of fashion and is starting to get an idea of just how broad the industry is, which she finds exciting.

“The world is so big, the industry is so huge. There’s so many opportunities.”

She was recently a part of a Wintec contingent of fashion design students and staff to visit Bangkok and gain some valuable insight into the Thailand fashion industry, which she said was an eye-opening experience.

“In New Zealand everything is on a smaller scale – the factories over there were gigantic and seeing these really made me appreciate how much people power goes into everything.”

Brydie, who loves bold colour and patterns, said she enjoyed seeing the traditional Thai methods of design and learning more about their culture.

Aside from the financial benefits the scholarship will provide, Brydie said it was a “real rush” to be named the recipient.

“It’s just a huge encouragement and shows I’m on the right track. It’s empowering to be acknowledged for the effort and time you invest.”

Gordon Chesterman, who will formally present Brydie with her award at an event next month, said he was impressed with her passion for the industry as well as her contribution to the community through her volunteering role.

“She’s hard-working, committed and truly passionate about what she’s studying, which is really inspiring. She’s an asset to Wintec and I’m confident she will do well in her chosen career.”

The scholarship, worth up to $15,000, is offered in recognition of the significant contribution made by former Wintec chair, Gordon Chesterman and is awarded on the basis of academic merit, personal character and community involvement. All students enrolled in Wintec’s School of Media Arts or Centre for Business, IT and Enterprise are eligible to apply.

Mr Chesterman was Chair of the Wintec Council for more than 10 years, and was deputy mayor at Hamilton City Council for two terms until 2016. He is a strong advocate for Wintec, and the business and arts community.

For more information on Wintec scholarships, visit


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