Miromoda showcase wows at NZ Fashion Week
By Linh Pham and Aditya Jindal
The Indigenous Maori Fashion Apparel Board presented its tenth Miromoda Runway Show at New Zealand Fashion Week 2019. Featuring 12 collections from 12 winners from the Miromoda competition held earlier this year, their designs showcased how diverse Maori fashion can really be while demonstrating a true commitment to culture, ethics and sustainability. Good Magazine caught up with the designers to learn about the creative inspirations behind their collections.
Emerging designer Nash Karaitiana from Napier proudly claimed the supreme prize of this year’s competition with a collection consists of colourful, baggy and loose-fitting clothing. He says his inspiration was from the Saturday morning cartoons and the rapper Eminem, mixed in with a bit of what he describes as “Dollar Shop Chic’ and bootleg t-shirt designs. Nash also focuses heavily on sustainability, using organic colourings and hemp-based wax.
The Wellington area contributed two representatives this year, Mitchell Manuel from Lower Hutt and Briah Zeitoun from Wellington City. Mitchell’s collection is the representation of the Maori’s Koru symbol reconstructed into mandalas and digitally printed onto clothing. Briah Zeitoun, a fourth-year fashion student at Massey University, delves into slow fashion with a street edge, a range of multipurpose, trans-seasonal designs that celebrate sustainability. Both of them entered the Emerging category.
Another pair of winners, this time from Palmerston North, were Tash Sinclair (Emerging category) and AJ Bradley (Established category). Tash’s designs focus on aesthetics, placing importance on ethics and affordability for clothes with a sixties mod feel. She strives to create a quality product that will last a lifetime. She even handmade shoes for the models to wear!
It is the third year AJ Bradley has appeared in Fashion Week at Miromoda, with her Motel Bible brand. This collection’s concept was inspired by the concept of sleep and the limbo state of dreaming – no detail is missed, down to dying her with a substance that induces sleep. Every garment is made ethically and cut or sewn completely by AJ.
Marton also has a voice with local designer Erana Kaa in Emerging category. Erana’s collection was a call-out to her childhood memories of Maori urbanization during 1960s, fleeing poverty in the provinces. An apron is referenced in the garments, contrasting function with the superficial.
All on a second win at Miromoda were Taongahuia Maxwell from Rotorua, Te Orihau Karaitiana from Hastings, and Glen Maclachlan from Tauranga in the Established category. The patterns in Maxwell’s collection focused heavily on the Uhi tattoo on Maori women, and she tries to picture her fabrics as a canvas.
Te Orihau’s collection is made from fully organic and environmentally friendly materials and manufactured in Bali. To create a distinct and tropical look to his fabrics, materials are boiled, rubbed and washed.
Glen Maclachlan’s motivation came from his daughter – he told her she could be anything and she asked what he had always wanted to be. He realised fashion had always been his passion and decided to pursue it with a collection featuring a creative combination of different textures from leather, lace to coated denim.
Chermene Castle from Gold Coast Australia won the Avante Garde category and the Innovation Award with her creative works, which she describes as ‘delicate’ and a reflection of her emotional journey in life. Chermene used unconventional materials juxtaposed to reflect the imbalance of mental illness with the stigma associated with it through her designs.
It’s third time lucky for Nichola Te Kiri from Hamilton (Avante Garde) whose brand, Nichola – Contemporary Māori Designs, is now her full-time job. Recently she showed in China and was so inspired she decided to fuse Asian culture with traditional Maori designs for a selection of high fashion garments and accessories.
Paulette Teatai Ariki (Avante Garde) demonstrated her creativity through the creation of fabric by using scrap and unconventional materials, most of them are water soluble. By turning unwanted material into beautiful designs, Paulette dedicates to protecting the environment in her own unique way.
Footnote: The Miromoda models at both the sneak peek and on the runway sported unique hair styling from award-winning stylist Warren Dion Smith of WETA Workshop, using his range of botanical, vegan and sulphate free hair wellness products.