The Brother Design Stars competition, run by Brother International (NZ) Limited, encourages students in school years 7 to 13 to create original entries into one of two award categories – fashion or craft. The theme of this year’s competition was Steal the Show and that’s exactly what New Zealand’s youngest designers have done.
The top twelve finalists will have their entries modelled professionally on the runway at this year's New Zealand Fashion Week at the end of August, with the top four winners treated like New Zealand Fashion Week designers with backstage passes, front row seats, VIP status and time in the spotlight.
Christchurch teen Jane Boyle (16) took out both the Senior Fashion Award and the prestigious Brother Design Stars Supreme Winner title. Her scene-stealing outfit, was created from recycled materials and handmade finishing touches and inspired by Boyle's style icon Iris Apfel.
“Iris Apfel is a 21st Century icon, who continues to bring liveliness and colour into her everyday wardrobe. In my own garment, I tried to incorporate the colour, texture and use of pattern that appears in her wardrobe and create something of my own,” Boyle says.
A stunning recycled red leather jacket has been embellished with leather applique on the back and a combination of shredding and braiding used to enhance the front. It covers a colourful shift dress that compliments the colourful handmade tassels on the sleeves.
Jayda Lee Fairweather-Ponga (11) from Wellington won the Junior Fashion Awar, for her body suit and hand dyed tulle skirt. She described a rising Phoenix as her design inspiration.
In the craft section, young designers were asked to create a hat or headpiece. This inspired Ohakune local Chaya Connelly (13) to win the Junior Craft Award with her intriguing black horned headpiece she called “Maleficent”. Returning Brother Design Star from 2014, Zoe Beck (17), took out the Senior Craft Award with a show stopping headpiece creation with ferns, flowers and birds.
Now in its fourth year, Brother Design Stars is the most prestigious youth fashion and craft competition in New Zealand. All four winners receive a Brother Sewing Machine to the value of $999 and the Supreme winner wins a Brother prize pack for their classroom to the value of $3750, travel and accommodation to Auckland to attend the Brother Graduate Show at New Zealand Fashion Week; and a ‘money-can’t-buy’ experience of behind the scenes access to the show.