Georgina Harmon-Hohua, right, at a fashion show as part of Coimbatore Style week, in India. PHOTO SUPPLIED

A mix of silk and paint has never looked so good and is paying big dividends for a couple of young designers writes Emma Brown.

A splash of paint has given two Wairarapa fashion students the inspiration to reach new heights at New Zealand Fashion Week next month.

Georgina Harmon-Hohua and Shannon Owen will see their designs on the runway after making it to the finals of the Resene NZ Fashion Tech Colour of Fashion project.

They are two of 17 students from the New Zealand Institute of Fashion and Technology whose designs will feature on the Resene Designer Runway at the high point of the New Zealand fashion calendar, which takes place from August 26 to September 1.

Students were each given silk in a Resene colour and a name to use as inspiration for their garment.

The design by Shannon Owen, featuring Resene’s ‘Submerge’ colour, will feature on the runway at New Zealand Fashion Week in August. PHOTO/CRAIG RAY MODEL/CLYNE

The Wairarapa pair study in Wellington and Owen said the competition experience was “really fun” because students got to see so many other designs and concepts, including from the institute’s Auckland campus.

She said her design, for the Resene colour ‘Submerge’, represented someone who had been held back from seeing their own beauty, which they were now aware of.

A former St Matthew’s Collegiate pupil, Owen said making it to Fashion Week was exciting and came as a surprise.

She is happy to be sharing the experience with Harmon-Hohua.

“We have seen each other go through the process and stages, and it worked out well for both of us,” she said.

Harmon-Hohua brought cut-outs and asymmetry to her design, which is set to make an impact.

“The moment that I was given the Resene paint colour ‘Irresistible’ it sparked immediate inspiration,” the former Makoura College pupil said.

“Inescapable [and] showstopper came to mind, giving me a strong foundation to start from.

“My intention was to design a piece that would attract the viewer instantly, and for this to be successful I knew I had to create something strikingly beautiful.”

She said the competition had helped develop her confidence in the design process and her public speaking skills.

“It has proven that I can achieve any challenging task that I put my mind to.”

The 17 finalists will attend a glamorous opening night at New Zealand Fashion Week on August 29, where the Resene Designer Runway will open with their designs in an explosion of vibrant colour.

Georgina Harmon-Hohua is in India recreating her Resene ‘Irresistible‘ design from a locally sourced silk saree.
PHOTO/CRAIG RAY MODEL/REDEVELEN

The winner of the Resene competition will be announced during the week, with the winner receiving an industrial sewing machine and an engraved pair of shears.

Tickets to the public Resene Designer Runway shows are available at iTicket.

Fashion trip to India

Georgina Harmon-Hohua is also one of 15 New Zealand Institute of Fashion and Technology students awarded a Prime Minister’s scholarship for Asia.

These students are taking part in six weeks of collaborative learning with the Bannari Amman Institute of Technology in India.

As part of the course, students will recreate their Resene garment from a locally-sourced silk saree.

Harmon-Hohua is travelling around the region learning about the apparel and textile industry, soaking up the culture, visiting temples, and seeing what it’s like to live in another country.

“Two weeks in and I have already decided that this is going to be the best trip of my life so far,” she said.

“Visiting textiles facilities, from mass production systems to small family businesses is very interesting and makes you think ‘who made my clothes?’.

“India has been an absolute dream, I am very much blown away by India’s beauty and rich culture, it has left me feeling very inspired and very eager to travel and explore the world more.”