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Trainee pattern-makers step onto NZ fashion stage
21
Aug '12
The time-lapse between learning to sew the first stitch and seeing your garment on the runway at New Zealand Fashion Week is usually a multiple of years, but for trainee pattern-makers Kapi Fonua (19), Kei Ho (30) both of Auckland, and Tanya Jeffrey (27) of Wellington, it’s taken just 18 months.

All three will be sitting front-row at the opening Designer Selection show at New Zealand Fashion Week when their elegant, white, classic-contemporary dresses, crafted from the uniquely-rippled toilet paper, step onto New Zealand’s most glamorous fashion stage.

19,500 lineal metres of Kleenex Cottonelle toilet paper went into 34 exquisite paper dresses made by talented young Diploma students from NZ Fashion Tech, at their Auckland and Wellington fashion schools.

Only three would make the cut.

Judges, Liz Findlay from Zambesi, fashion photographer Marissa Findlay, NZ Fashion Tech Director Kevin Smith, Michele Bollinger from Kimberly-Clark New Zealand and Deb Bauer from Kimberly-Clark Australia, the makers of Kleenex® Cottonelle® toilet paper, were up for the task.

And the winners are … Kapi Fonua of Auckland. Born in Tonga, Kapi remembers the lace in the white dresses he saw at church on Sundays. After moving with his family to New Zealand as an 11 year old, one of his fondest memories is going to the beach at Christmas where he would climb among the pohutukawa trees. Both memories are now stitched into Kapi’s work of fashion art.

Tanya Jeffrey from Wellington is a fan of sci-fi. Influenced in her fashion style by the movie ‘Blade Runner’, Tanya is inspired by heroine Rachel and the futuristic sets in the design of her retro-contemporary, head-turning toilet paper dress which shows where strength and softness meet.

Kei Ho, found his design inspiration in cup cakes. He pictured a tea party celebrating the flowering of the Royal Water Lily. Kei wanted the playful layering of the skirt of his air-woven toilet paper dress to allude to the silhouette of the lily, the pleating to mimic the paper cases, and the bodice to swirl like ribbons of icing.

Kapi, Tanya and Kei realise the enormity of the break they’ve been given in the industry.

During Fashion Weekend on Saturday 8th September there will be a 40 minute seminar presented by NZ Fashion Tech. Discover the inside story of how NZ Fashion Tech students, after only 18 months of compressed study, can complete the exacting Kleenex Cottonelle  Paper Dresses Challenge.

New Zealand Fashion Week

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