Māori Designers take part in Miromoda Fashion Competition

By Harata Brown

Māori designers have taken part in the Miromoda Fashion Design Competition, to showcase their talent and compete for a spot at New Zealand Fashion week. The founder of New Zealand Fashion Week says the contest has made positive progression since its inception, with a number of participants becoming major players in the industry.

Miro is the traditional Māori term for weaving fibres and Moda is Italian for fashion.

For Anastasia and Leilani Rickard, this is a prime opportunity to fuse traditional Māori science with fashion and design.

Contestant Leilani Rickard says, “If you're trying to do it on your own, there's not always opportunities. So today we would like to see our collection grow actually on the world stage.”

Dame Pieter Stewart is no stranger to fashion. The Founder of New Zealand Fashion Week is here at Miromoda to find Māoridom's finest fashion designers.

Dame Pieter Stewart  - Miromoda Judge says, “So each year I come and judge this competition and from that together with the other judges we work out which designers are capable of showing their collection on the catwalk, and also who would probably be able to produce commercially and to go on to the next step because it's not just about the competition.”

Ata Te Kanawa -Founder, Miromoda says, “Even though we wanted to maintain an essence of being Māori we also wanted to be able to be searched on google for fashion globally. That has pretty much worked.”

Wellington Designer Alana Cooper was a model at Miromoda before showcasing her latest clothing line called Whatu. She says her collection stems from her fascination with korowai.

Contestant, Miromoda Alana Cooper says, “The actual garments themselves derive from the korowai. I was thinking of the idea of being wrapped and embraced in your whakapapa and being embraced in the hard work that has been done to make that garment for your whānau.”

Two contestants are set to be chosen from the Miromoda competition to showcase their latest clothing line at NZ Fashion Week in August.