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Eyes on the prize


Rushing around backstage at a fashion show is nothing short of “manic”.

But for Masterton’s Emma Schdroski, she wouldn’t have it any other way.

The St Matthew’s Collegiate student is making waves in the New Zealand fashion world for her design skills, cleaning up awards at major competitions around the country.

And building her own brand is the next step after she graduates this year.

The 17-year-old said she had always dreamed of hitting the big time in the fashion industry.

“My granny taught me how to sew. I was maybe 10 years old,” she said.

The first of her projects back then were humble – wheat bags made from scrap material left over from her father’s upholstery business.

These days she is designing mens’ street fashion, taking her inspiration from celebrities like Canadian rapper Drake.

“I don’t think there’s enough mens’ stuff out there.

“That’s what I want to bring to the table.”

Her recent designs have won her accolades such as the ‘Young Designer’ award, ‘Menswear’, and ‘Space Between’ at Oversew 2017, and a first-place award for a classic garment at Pin’d Creative showcase in August.

At Pin’d, she also won a second-place award for pattern drafting, and an award in ‘Workmanship & Design’.

Emma Schdroski can’t wait to use her new sewing machine she won in August. PHOTO/EMILY NORMAN
Emma Schdroski can’t wait to use her new sewing machine she won in August. PHOTO/EMILY NORMAN

This won her the prize of a Bernina sewing machine, which Emma is still yet to use.

Though she is known to do well at fashion competitions – she has almost 20 certificates since 2015 to prove it – she still gets “shocked” when her name is called out at award shows.

“I don’t really expect it when I go into shows.

“Even at the Pin’d one, I had a feeling, but I wasn’t sure and I wasn’t really dressed for the occasion.

“When I got called out for the sewing machine, I was in a hoodie and gym pants.

“Because I was helping out at the back obviously – getting everybody dressed.”

She had won the prize for a menswear outfit she designed, comprising a tartan checked coat with a turtle neck cream coloured top underneath and black pants with pin tucks.

But she wouldn’t have come this far without the support of her friends, family, and teacher Ruth Bucknell.

“Mrs Bucknell has been the most amazing person.

“She’s probably the best teacher I’ve ever had.

“She came in Year 11 and has been with our year group for the whole three years of NCEA.

“She supplies everything, she runs around after everyone… it’s crazy how much she does.”

While Emma is now busy designing her own ball gown for the end of the year, she is also planning her next steps to build her own brand.

In the holidays, she plans to do an internship with Massey University, which she won, take a gap year overseas next year, and then get stuck into further fashion study.

“It is my dream really to be a designer.”


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Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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