Nga Tawa fashion students win big at Hokonui Fashion Design Awards

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Nga Tawa fashion students win big at Hokonui Fashion Design Awards
Nga Tawa fashion students win big at Hokonui Fashion Design Awards

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Nga Tawa Diocesan School designers Brooke Wilson (far left) and Tanika Whale (far right) with models Helena Olney (centre left) and Rebecca Kong (centre right). Photo / Supplied

Garments inspired by the cultures and upbringings of two Nga Tawa Diocesan School students won big at this year’s 2022 Hokonui Fashion Design Awards.

The Awards are the longest-running fashion design awards of their type in New Zealand, giving a competitive platform for all amateur designs in front of fashion industry leaders since 1988.

Six Nga Tawa students submitted their finished designs for the runway, and five were selected to appear.

Year 13 students Brooke Wilson and Tanika Whale placed first and second in the Natural Fibres category, taking home $700 and $300 of prize money, respectively.

Wilson grew up on a sheep and beef farm and wanted to showcase how fortunate she was to have experienced a rural upbringing, which was reflected in the woollen design of her winning outfit.

The wool in her dress came from her family’s pet, Annie, which Wilson raised and sheared at around six months old.

Wilson felted the lamb’s wool to turn it into a piece of fabric by connecting individual fibres so she could sew an outfit from it.

She flew down to Gore for the event with her mum and Nana, and said it was special to see her own design and the designs of her classmates walking down the runway.

“I was super nervous when they called out the top three names onto the stage for my category, especially because my name was called out last.

“It was such a buzz and something I will never forget.”

Her success at the rewards also inspired Wilson to consider attending a design school next year.

Second-place-getter Whale also won the Auaha Narrative Award for a garment creatively and visually intertwined with the designer’s own culture.

Her garment was made of woven harakeke flax and was chosen from over 200 entries, for which she also won a $700 prize.

Textiles teacher for Nga Tawa, Larissa Mackereth, had been helping her Year 12 and 13 students create the garments for eight weeks as a part of their NCEA assessment standard.

She presented her students with the opportunity to participate in the awards to experience the highs and lows of the fashion world.

She was proud of her students for producing their work to such a high standard.

“They put their heart and soul into their designs, spending every minute they could in my classroom.”

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