Whanganui UCOL Fashion Student AJ Bradley has been selected to show her collection, The Hungry Years at New Zealand Fashion Week.
AJ will be exhibiting under her own name as part of the Miromoda Collective of Maori designers show. Miromoda is an organisation which is committed to nurturing the development of Maori designers within the fashion industry.
As part of her third year Bachelor of Fashion course work, AJ was required to create three complete outfits, with 8-12 individual pieces. This mini collection was then presented to the Miromoda judging panel in Hamilton, up against garments by industry experienced designers.
Ms Bradley says the experience was both exciting and nerve wracking as it involved presenting and explaining the different elements within her garments.
“The judges were able to get a tangible sense of what I had created. I also presented my look book alongside swing tags I had designed.”
Ms Bradley’s collection was inspired by Patti Smith’s book ‘Just Kids’ which documents Smith’s move to New York in the 1970s. Ms. Bradley drew from themes of the bohemian and beatnik subcultures along with romance, rock n roll and beat poets of the 70s.
Ms Bradley says that Whanganui UCOL provided her with the perfect environment to experiment with new ideas and concepts.
“Once you are working full time, it is easy to be constrained by the practicalities of life. Experimentation whilst studying allowed me to receive guidance from my lecturers, push the boundaries and make the most of every opportunity.”
Recently, she completed an internship with Auckland based independent label Penny Sage – owned by Whanganui UCOL alumni Kate McGaw.
For the remainder of the year, Ms Bradley will be working hard to add more garments to her collection in time for NZ Fashion Week, alongside completing her final year of study and raising her young son.
Ms Bradley will be interning with Zambesi in January upon the completion of her degree and is looking into setting up a small independent label based in Palmerston North.