Interview by Kim Newton

The who’s who of the local fashion scene crowded in at the Viaduct in Auckland last week. Fashion week 2018 featured a lineup of all the well-known local and international designers that you would expect to see at the annual event.

One show that stood out from the rest, however, was Walk the Line, coordinated by the YMCA’s youth development programme Raise Up, which featured an array of emerging young designers, all between the ages of 13-18. The show was aimed at giving young designers the opportunity to experience fashion week first-hand, as well as offering an amazing scholarship for the winner- an ideal kick-start into a highly competitive industry.

Georgia Brodie, 20 years old, was in charge of coordinating the event this year for the first time.

GEORGIA BRODIE: EVENT COORDINATOR

Photographer – Eden Harnell

How did you get involved with Walk the Line and how was it running the event for the first time?

I’ve been involved with Raise Up for a few years. I recently graduated with a Bachelor of Event Management and this is by far the biggest fashion event of the year, so I was excited to step up and put what I learnt at university to the test. It was a great event and I really enjoyed working with all the designers. There were no major hiccups on the day, which was a bonus!

Aside from potentially winning an amazing scholarship, what other benefits do you think Walk the Line offers young designers?

It gives young people the opportunity to showcase their designs on an international stage, and allows them to experience what it’s really like to be a part of the fashion industry. You see people initially just entering the competition for fun, and by the end of it, you see them start to take it seriously because they see that it’s something that they can actually do as a career. It’s not just some far-fetched dream.

How did you decide on the judges for this year?

Photographer – Eden Harnell

I got together with the team and we brainstormed on who would be a great fit for the show. Carly Tolle and Doris de Pont are already involved in the fashion industry, so they brought an amazing amount of experience and knowledge. We wanted Simone Anderson as a judge, as she offered a different angle. Social media has a huge influence, particularly on young people and fashion, so we wanted to acknowledge that.

NATASHA SENIOR (14)

Winner of the High Fashion category and Supreme Prizes

Can you tell us what sparked your interest in fashion?

I started dressmaking when I was 5. My mum showed me how to sew and encouraged me to turn my ideas into a garment. She would let me use her sewing machine every weekend, so I would go in and make clothes for hours.

Are you self-taught or did you study fashion design?

My mum taught me everything I know about fashion and design. I learned at home so you could say I’m self-taught.

Photographer – Eden Harnell

Can you tell us a bit about your concept for this year’s competition

My design for this year was inspired by the Pacific. I wanted to draw attention to climate change, as I think the Pacific ocean is our treasure and we need to protect it. I used frangipani flowers, which you see everywhere in the islands,  and I also did a flowing design to emulate the ocean. Climate change is a real thing and something we need to think about. When I was little I went to the cook islands and I’ve been there 6 times ever since.  I learned about their traditions and made friends with locals who live there. I wanted to make something unique to support NZ and the Pacific, so that if my design ever went on to win NZ and the Pacific would be recognised.

Are there any fashion designers that you look up?

Christian Dior, Karen Walker and Trelise Cooper.

 FAITH LUMSDEN (16)

Winner of the Open Category

What sparked your interest in fashion?

I’ve always loved going to fashion shows like Trelise Cooper and loved fashion growing up, but I never thought of it as a career. Doing Walk the Line this year though has really inspired me to take it seriously.

Can you tell us a bit about your concept for this years competition

I was doing research in class and found out about “future forecasting”. I looked into it and found out that the Wild West was a big upcoming trend. I saw different elements in the Wild West and discovered a girl named Annie Oakley who wasn’t the most fashionable person ever, but I liked that she was really one with her surroundings and embodied what the Wild West is all about. I designed my work off of her but I wanted to create a modern take on it. I wanted to create a mood that would emulate the feeling that Annie Oakley gave – strong but still feminine.

Photographer- Isha Arora

Are there any fashion designers that you look up?

I saw a lot of Western outlaw designs done by Christian Dior, which I really loved. A lot of the shows that I saw this week had similar ruffles that I used in my design, so I was stoked about that. I also really liked how feminine Trelise cooper designs are.

FRANKIE ALEXANDER-KEMBLE (16)

Winner of the Express Yourself Category

How did you get into Fashion design?

I first got into design at the start of High School. I found it such a great way to express my ideas and myself in general. I enjoy being able to take my ideas and turn them into something tangible.

What inspired your design for Walk the Line this year?

I was at the circus and I saw this man in a skirt. It kind of took me back a bit but it really inspired me. I thought it would be super cool to make something that was gender-inclusive, as I think it’s where fashion is heading in the future. I wanted to make a modern take on a kilt with an industrial feel.

What influence do you think social media has on fashion?

I think at this year’s shows I definitely saw some influence from social media, but I think if anything, social media enables us to express ourselves as individuals and “being yourself” is very much celebrated.

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