Southern woman wins people's choice award

NZME presenters Tristram Clayton and Rachel Smalley compere the iD Dunedin Fashion Show. Photo by Gregor Richardson.
NZME presenters Tristram Clayton and Rachel Smalley compere the iD Dunedin Fashion Show. Photo by Gregor Richardson.
A model shows of the designs of Otago Polytechnic People's Choice winner, Otago Polytechnic graduate Laura Bennett. Photo by Chris Sullivan/Seen in Dunedin.
A model shows of the designs of Otago Polytechnic People's Choice winner, Otago Polytechnic graduate Laura Bennett. Photo by Chris Sullivan/Seen in Dunedin.

The iD International Emerging Designer Awards may have been won by an Australian, but it was a southern girl who wowed the hearts of the audience.

Otago Polytechnic fashion design graduate Laura Bennett (21) took out the people's choice awards - sponsored, of course, by the polytechnic - after Thursday's show.

Ms Bennett's collection, ''A Lucid Distraction'', was described in the awards programme as ''an invitation to escape the digital realm into the solace and wonder of nature''.

A nod to the bohemian era, the collection featured ''silhouettes emphasising freedom and nostalgia and a kaleidoscope of colour that aims to draw audiences into an optimistic mind-set'', the description said.

The main award at the event was won by University of Technology Sydney's Nehma Vitols, a continuation of the Australian dominance at the event.

But audience members invited to text their favourite designer chose Ms Bennett for the $500 people's choice award.

Ms Bennett said last night she finished her course last year.

She had been waiting for the iD Dunedin Fashion Week to arrive, and planned to ''knuckle down and find a proper job'' now it was done.

She was back in her home town of Timaru working to save money.

''And then hopefully I will head overseas or up to Auckland to get some industry experience,'' she said.

Ms Bennett found out on Friday she had won.

''It was really humbling, actually.

''I think realising other people really appreciate your work, and I guess get joy from it as well ... it was a shock.''

''The talent you're competing against is amazing.

''It was an amazing week.''

david.loughrey@odt.co.nz

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