Hokonui Fashion Awards Highlight Design Talent

Hokonui-Heritage-Kiwiana-Margaret LewisOur Designer Direction Southern belle; Kate Pierson, talks to some of the winning entrants from the 2009 Hokonui Fashion Awards and gives us a run-down on the show and it’s success.

I’m seeing the Hokonui Fashion Awards through the eyes of a first place winner, Roberta Dazids. There is a river of colour moulded into stylised pieces. Sewn with the fabric of raw talent and imbued with personality, designs are a creative synthesis of quintessential NZ ingenuity and inspiration.

In the deep, rugged south, Gore provides a simple backdrop for a sophisticated blend of fashion. Provocative garments juxtapose elegant eveningwear as the who’s who of the New Zealand fashion world look on, absorbing and appraising. A cosmopolitan heartbeat on a cold winter July weekend, the Hokonui Fashion awards celebrate 21 years – making them New Zealand’s longest running fashion awards of their kind.

On the 24th and 25th of July 2009, talent from all over New Zealand – rising and established – congregated to appreciate the talent of peers, colleagues and in the case of the panel of designer judges – potential fashion rivals!

MPP-Overall-Mens-and-Award-of-Excellence - Laura MarshallThere was no doubt judges were impressed with the entries: Francis Hooper, head of the 2009 judges panel and pioneer of successful New Zealand brand World, noted the high quality of garments submitted to this year’s awards. Hooper credited the men’s section in particular as having outstanding designs.

298 entries were submitted for this year’s competition and designs were modelled for crowds of 450 plus in the two shows (Strictly Design and The Gala Awards) which spanned a weekend. Pieces honoured old trends and embraced new themes, showing participants are learning from the past whilst creating the future.

Every candidate and their collection warrant recognition, because designer innovation and talent is a gift in itself, but I acquainted myself with two students in particular to discuss their success. Call me bias, but after reviewing the CPIT fashion show “Debut” in June, I have a soft spot for these designers.

Campbell Turner Collection 2009Third year CPIT student, Campbell Turner, took out the “most commercial potential” title for his “come on feel the noise” collection. A collaborative effort between Campbell and Federation clothing, each piece in Campbell’s collection was divided into what Campbell describes as “music capsules…each inspired by different music”. Campbell also showed the diversity of his talent by placing in two other categories!

Westpac Wool Roberta DazidsIt appears talent runs in the CPIT family with second year student Roberta Dazids claiming the title for the prestigious “Westpac Wool Award”. Roberta, who describes her design as a “black dress – cocktail, young and funky but chic”, was bursting with enthusiasm when I spoke to her about her win and conceded “I think I’m still in shock”. Roberta was humble about her win, commenting “it is a privilege – you don’t think you will win …there is just so much talent”. Originally from Zimbabwe (I am glad New Zealand now has her talent!) Roberta was also full of praise for the nurturing tutors and teachers at CPIT. “They are the best bunch of people … there is different talent and different ambition within the course but we are all so well supported”.

The Hokonui Fashion awards Executive Producer Heather Paterson, had the last word for the weekend. Her acknowledgement that these awards were simply “the best yet” certainly says it all.

Sigh … to be that talented. Jealous much? I know I am!

For more information on the awards and a full list of the winners please visit http://www.hokonuifashion.com

Images courtesy of Raoul Photos & Campbell Turner.

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