The heart of design

Katie Day’s graduate collection, Open Space, modelled by Nadine Kemp, Lauren Moon and Peyton Leong, of Red Eleven Model Management. Photo: Natalie Ng
Katie Day’s graduate collection, Open Space, modelled by Nadine Kemp, Lauren Moon and Peyton Leong, of Red Eleven Model Management. Photo: Natalie Ng
Avant-garde ski apparel from designer Maia Holder-Monk’s 2019 graduate collection 
...
Avant-garde ski apparel from designer Maia Holder-Monk’s 2019 graduate collection modeled by Yujin Shin. Photo: Chris Motion
Hand-painted and crocheted garments crafted by graduating designer Ema-Lea Phillips and modelled...
Hand-painted and crocheted garments crafted by graduating designer Ema-Lea Phillipps and modelled by Zoe Morehu and Teah Paterson. Photo: Ema-Lea Phillipps

COLLECTIONS 2019 shines a spotlight on Otago Polytechnic’s fashion design students. Katie Day, fashion writer and member of the 2019 graduating class, offers a glimpse behind the scenes of the forthcoming fashion show.

One more sleep until the big show. The countdown is on for COLLECTIONS 2019, Otago Polytechnic's graduate fashion show.

COLLECTIONS is the annual student showcase that presents a smorgasbord of fashion creations.

The graduating class has devoted three years to study the discipline of design, specialising in fashion.

They have immersed themselves completely in an integrative learning experience that marries theoretical knowledge with practical skill to produce exploratory and distinct fashion outcomes.

Maia Holder-Monk, Katie Day and Ema-Lea Phillipps are looking forward to showing their graduate collections this weekend. Photos: Linda Robertson
Maia Holder-Monk, Katie Day and Ema-Lea Phillipps are looking forward to showing their graduate collections this weekend. Photos: Linda Robertson
Late nights, copious cups of coffee, sparks of inspiration, hours of research, sustainable conversations, experimental designs, meticulous planning, careful construction, a few tears shed and many victorious celebrations are all common threads woven together to create their debut collections.

I confess, I know such intimate details of a fashion student's life because I am one of them. The graduating fashion class is my own and we have shared this wild creative journey together. COLLECTIONS is our triumphant celebration of completion.

Attendees can expect tasters of first-years' best work alongside captivating capsule collections designed by second-year students for local retailers.

The show will then be polished off with an indulgent display of graduate and post-graduate fashion collections, all a culmination of their tireless and passionate work.

Let me introduce you to the work of two of my fellow graduates and myself whose garments, among others, will grace the catwalk at COLLECTIONS 2019.

Coinciding with COLLECTIONS, DEBRIEF is an exhibition that displays the Communication and Product design students' work. Over the past four weeks, all third-year design students have been working consistently and cohesively to produce the student showcases. DEBRIEF and COLLECTIONS 2019 represent emerging Dunedin design at its finest.

 

Maia Holder-Monk. Photo: Linda Robertson
Katie Day. Photo: Linda Robertson
Katie Day - Open Space

Open Space is a conceptual fashion collection that vulnerably dances between the lines of fragility and strength. It encapsulates an exploration of one's internal world through the notions of openness, surrender, psychological space and the breath. Garments display a sculptural exploration of space, expressed through the medium of naturally dyed silk organza.

The colour palette of rich indigo blue, Madder orange and Quebracho red radiates gentle intensity while reflecting a reverence for our environment. Reflection, observation, embodiment and intuition guide my design process as I explore themes of vulnerability and regenerative action in relation to connectedness.

Open Space has allowed me to find courage in the embodiment of vulnerability, peace in the suspended space of surrender and grounding in the inhale and exhale of the breath. Intuition was heightened and perception challenged creating a conceptual collection of sculptural elegance.

 

Katie Day. Photo: Linda Robertson
Maia Holder-Monk. Photo: Linda Robertson
Maia Holder-Monk - The Feminine Off-Piste

In my final year of study I have focused on expanding and renegotiating conventions of women's ski apparel through conceptual design. My work finds a foundation in feminist phenomenology and aims to enable a fully embodied experience for women in motion - I believe fashion and apparel design holds massive potential for positive change in women's and girls' lives.

The Feminine Off-Piste brings together technical apparel, abstract art, and avant-garde fashion to place women at the design core of their gear.The collection is all fully functional and waterproof as ski-wear, with some more extravagant experimental elements that move with the wearer and the weather.

Taking inspiration from abstract expressionist and cubist art, I designed bold box pleats which hover and flex around the body, sketching out the muscle memory of downhill skiing, and leaving a physical trace of euphoric movement. My collection aims to uphold femininity on the skifield - in all its infinite expressions.

 

Ema-Lea Phillipps. Photo: Linda Robertson
Ema-Lea Phillipps. Photo: Linda Robertson
Ema-Lea Phillipps - Wahine no te Whenua

Wahine no te whenua/women of the land, is a fashion/art hybrid collection aiming to sit in exhibition spaces. This collection encourages the audience to interact with strong female energies, opening spaces for conversation around body, identity and the reclamation of culture.

My creative practice included free-form hand-crafted textiles, mixing traditional and contemporary forms and drawing from the deep spiritual and physical connection between women and the land.

This shows the fierce strength wahine hold and the power that can be exchanged through kinship with te whenua. Looking to Papatuanuku, to channel the mana and tapu/strength and sacred within.

 

To see

COLLECTIONS 2019: The Hub, Otago Polytechnic,  Friday, doors open, 7pm; show starts 8pm.

DEBRIEF: The Hub, Otago Polytechnic, runs from 5.30pm tomorrow until November 24.

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