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Last local threads contest

St Matthew’s Collegiate soft materials teacher Ruth Bucknell working with her Year 12 pupils. PHOTO/GIANINA SCHWANECKE

GIANINA SCHWANECKE

It began in Wairarapa six years ago, but entries for the region’s last Oversew Fashion Award show closed last week with only one Wairarapa secondary school entering pupils’ designs.

The fashion competition, which encourages recycling of pre-loved clothing, will continue to be organised from Wairarapa, but this is the last year it will be held in the region, with a new venue still to be announced.

St Matthew’s Collegiate is the only Wairarapa school to enter the competition, but teacher Ruth Bucknell said she also struggled with pupil retention.

This was partly due to timetable clashes, and the time required to put together a portfolio.

“For a lot of parents, they don’t consider it an academic subject.”

Pupils had entered the competition as individuals, but it wasn’t until recently that the project was incorporated into the school’s curriculum.

“The school has always done it but more so for extra credit [outside the curriculum].

“It ticks the boxes on sustainability, protecting our planet, the Anglican Christian values of the school.”

The competition features four categories — athleisure, streetstyle, nightlife and showstoppers – with more than $8000 worth of cash prizes.

The challenging event has often resulted in tears and all-nighters, as pupils struggled to meet budget limitations using pre-loved garments.

Other schools in Wairarapa had stopped incorporating the competition into their curriculum because of pupils dropping design courses, and the event’s timing.

Makoura College’s head of technology Andrina Goodwin said: “It’s the wrong time of year for my students.”

Wairarapa College dropped their soft materials programme after staff cuts in 2015.

Principal Shelley Power said the school had attempted to provide its pupils with access to the programme in different forms for the past two years, but finding a suitable teacher was difficult.

“In the interim, students have had access to soft materials through a crafting option available last year and this year a wearable arts programme,” she said.

Although disappointed that few Wairarapa pupils had entered, Oversew event organiser Robyn Cherry-Campbell was excited by the calibre of the entries.

“It’s a real shame other schools don’t include it in their curriculum anymore.

“It’s incredible to see the talent of people when they deconstruct and reconstruct pieces – it’s just amazing.”

The international competition has attracted entries from across the country and even further afield.

“We’ve had entries from Rangiora College to Kings College in Auckland. There are also pieces from Australia and even France.”

The Oversew Fashion Awards will be held at the Carterton Events Centre on July 21 at 7pm.

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