Colour of Fashion

Smitten pink, Daredevil orange, Sublime green and a spectrum of jewel-like colour woven into silk is set to paint the town Roadster red at New Zealand Fashion Week this year, in an education project that spans hemispheres and is supported at the highest level in two countries.
In a first for fashion education, the lustrous colours and vibrant patterns of hand-woven silk saris from the ancient looms of a Southern-India village, re-created as high fashion, will debut on the nation’s biggest fashion stage at the end of August.
The project began when Kevin Smith and Val Marshall-Smith, founders and owners of award-winning New Zealand fashion institute, NZ Fashion Tech, teamed up with educators Giles Brooker and Prabha Govindasamy. Together they shaped a unique New Zealand-India fashion education collaboration.


And next Resene, a New Zealand paint company who likes to support initiatives celebrating colour, stepped up to amplify the project.  
50 silk saris inspired by paint colours from Resene were selected. Then 45 students from NZ Fashion Tech’s Diploma classes in Auckland and Wellington were briefed to design and make a contemporary-chic fashion look from the delicate hand-woven silks, responding to the Resene paint colour they had been given.
Resene will showcase the students’ work on the coveted runways at New Zealand Fashion Week, at the Resene Colour Awards in September, in on-line galleries at both and and in other locations around New Zealand.
Karen Warman of Resene says: “Paint colours have for many years been inspired by colours seen on catwalks and in the latest fashion trends. It’s a nice twist to reverse the order and have paint colours used as inspiration for the catwalk.” 
Val Marshall-Smith, Academic Director at NZ Fashion Tech says: “Colour in fashion is about having confidence in our choices; being able to express ourselves creatively in a truly individual way and not being afraid to show who we really are. We’re delighted that this project boldly brings colour back onto fashion’s centre-stage.”
To complete the project, 15 of the talented Kiwi fashion students from NZ Fashion Tech who have taken part in the project will travel to India for five weeks near the end of their academic year, as recipients of Prime Minister’s Scholarships for Asia.
They will re-create their fashion looks, first seen on pages of fashion magazines and fashion runways in New Zealand, and bring a unique education collaboration between NZ Fashion Tech and Bannari Amman Institute of Technology to life in India.
Kevin Smith Managing Director of NZ Fashion Tech says: “The students responded well to the brief. Armed with their Resene test pot and sari, they were asked (hypothetically) to dress Cate Blanchett for a summer luncheon in Monte Carlo. Technical excellence was paramount, the timeline was tight, and the stakes were high:  Who would show at Fashion Week? Who would catch the eye of editors? And ultimately: Who would travel to India?”
“We’re thrilled with the results. This project is taking them beyond the classroom and giving them real international and commercial perspective. It’s a hugely valuable teaching and learning experience.”


Ten looks from the Resene NZ Fashion Tech Colour of Fashion collection will open five Resene Designer Selection shows at New Zealand Fashion Week, starting at 5.30pm on Wednesday 27 August at the Viaduct Events Centre in Auckland. Tickets to all five shows are on-sale at iTIcket.


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