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A fashion design student is coming out of this year’s MLT Hokonui Fashion Design Awards with a lot more than she ever hoped for.
Auckland University of Technology student Sheetol Chawla was announced as the winner of the Mataura Licensing Trust Award of Excellence at the show’s gala night at the Gore Town and Country Club on Saturday.
This year’s sell-out event attracted 188 entries with 258 garments, with 1300 people having attended across both Friday and Saturday nights.
Mrs Chawla said her main reason for entering was just to get more feedback on her work from those in the fashion industry.
"I didn’t think it would go that far. I didn’t even dream about it. It’s an amazing feeling. I can’t even express it."
She had aspirations to launch her own label one day, she said.
"Seeing it tonight and just seeing the energy of the room and the celebration of this beautiful work was touching."
Her garments carried a lot of meaning and integrity, Mr Dunstan said.
"We were exposed to some of the narratives and that’s what I really like in a collection is the story behind it."
Mrs Chawla said the garments were inspired by spirituality and how that might look if it were tangible.
"I named this collection Humanity Saturated in Spirituality."
The primarily cotton-based garments consisted of many layers and were put together utilising a variety of techniques, she said.
"My concept was sustainability."
Mrs Chawla’s garments also won her the Mackersey Property Collections Award.
Regular participant Viv Tamblyn, of Gore, took out the Peroni Glamour Award with her red, flower patterned dress and matching face mask.
This year’s Heather Paterson QSM Memorial Trophy/Award for Best Southland Designer went to school section participant May Dyson, of Tuatapere.
The home school student entered a patterned paper dress with a gold masquerade mask, which also won her the Cardrona Distillery People’s Choice Award, a new category where the winner was decided by members of the audience.
"It’s refreshing to know that we have talent coming through in this industry."