Fashion designer Shona Tawhiao opens POP UP store

By Mānia Clarke-Mamanu

Harakeke Couture fashion designer Shona Tawhaio has opened a new POP UP store in her hometown Tauranga for a limited two weeks. 

Tawhiao's legacy collection that has been showcased on international runways has returned home.

“I'm hoping they'll all go to good homes from here,” she said.

“And then I can start building new collections, new works, I've got a lot of new ideas that I need to get out.”

Trained under the tutelage of weaving expert Te Kahu Toi Te Kanawa her high end woven fashion has been seen on Fashion Week catwalks in New York, Melbourne and Malaysia this year alone.

“The work is received really well overseas. Sometimes even better than here at home. They're I think more open-minded to things that are different and other cultures as well.”

Three past collections have been gathered in the one space since Tawhiao woven creations first seen at NZ Fashion Week's Miromoda show in 2010. She admits the international exposure has yet to result in financial success.

“I'm probably way more famous than I'm rich. But that's okay. It's still creating an awareness for my work which is basically the main kaupapa for me.”

However, the Mataatua weaver has new aspirations for her fashion.

“I think I need to get into everyday wear. Streetwear and put them on my online shop, that then I'm hoping it'll be financially okay.”

Tawhiao says her daywear collection is more contemporary.

“I'd like to base it on, still on the concepts as my woven work which is war, battles, hip-hop, samurai warriors.”

Next year Tawhiao will a host a new Matariki runway Fashion Show of her new collection on her home island of Matakana.