Breaking into the New Zealand fashion industry is a dream which hangs by a thread for most budding designers. But for 16 weeks, the dream became reality for six young designers who got the chance to create and showcase a collection at two runway extravaganzas.
Kate Diana Spencer of Te Āti Awa is the director of Project Fashion Wellington, now in its second year.
“Project Fashion came from me wanting to have a space for fashion designers in the hope that they can create their own labels,” she says.
Spencer is joined by collaborator and Ngāti Kahungunu fashionista Jaye “Glam” Morgan, who sees Project Fashion as a door opener for emerging designers.
“Three or four percent actually end up working within the industry. We’re that step into the industry.”
The designers were carefully selected from 80 applications and receive mentoring from industry movers and shakers.
Ngapuhi designer Mikayla Hammond left Whangarei to take up one of the six coveted spots.
Inspired by sustainable local fashion labels like Kowtow, Mikayla’s designs incorporate natural dying techniques.
She’s found the pressure cooker experience “stressful” and “harder than my last year at uni” – but the platform has led to further opportunities, such as being selected to show at Miromoda.
Kate Spencer says designers need to bring their 'A' game to Project Fashion and that focus is already paying off for the 2018 intake.
“We’ve now found out that four of them will be in fashion week, so that’s pretty much as good as it gets in New Zealand.”