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Design student in NZ Fashion Week showcase

By UCOL on Wednesday, 02 August 2017

UCOL Bachelor of Design and Arts student Gienipha Tutaki is set to rub shoulders with the leading fashion designers in the country after being selected to present at New Zealand Fashion Week in August.

Gienipha, a third year student majoring in Textile/Fashion Design in Whanganui, will be one of eight designers presenting at the Miromoda Showcase. 

Miromoda, the Indigenous Māori Fashion Apparel Board, aims to advance the standard and status of Māori fashion design.
Gienipha gained selection for New Zealand Fashion Week by placing as a runner up in the Miromoda Fashion Design Competition. There she presented to a panel of judges, including New Zealand Fashion Week founder Dame Pieter Stewart. 

“It was really good to get feedback from professionals who have been in the industry for a long time. Just to get advice from them was good enough for me. It was great to have the experience of talking in front of them; it just built my confidence up,” says Gienipha.

Gienipha’s collection is a contemporary mixture of the fashion of Whanganui Māori and European settlers from the late 19th century. 

“It started off with one garment, but I really loved the idea so I worked it into a collection with the earthy tones, blacks, whites, and sepias. This was because a lot of the photos I was inspired by were taken in the late 1800s. Those colours just spoke to me.”

Gienipha’s collection, consisting of six full outfits, is trans-seasonal, with multiple layers which can be taken off and put on to suit the conditions.

“They are really good as winter pieces as well as summer pieces because they are really light, delicate fabrics.”

Gienipha says she’s excited about having her collection on the runway and hoping the experience can open some doors to help her go further in the industry. 

“They’re giving you a platform and you’ve got to use it to the best of your ability. I guess I’ll see what happens and then go from there.”

She is also looking forward to seeing what new designers will emerge at New Zealand Fashion Week.

“I like watching the shows with new, young designers. I think they’re becoming more popular and the shows are selling out because people are after something new.”

Gienipha also made it to the second round of judging for this year’s World of Wearable Arts competition, with a piece that combined traditional Māori flax-weaving with modern techniques and materials.  

You can follow Gienipha’s journey to New Zealand Fashion Week on her Instagram gienipha.tutaki.