Madeleine Schulz with her collection inspired by hi-vis workwear. Photo: Dasha Kuprienko
Hamilton’s Alexandra Street is set to echo with the sound of stiletto heels when Wintec stages its annual fashion show on Saturday November 22.
Wintec’s programme manager for fashion design, Julie Ashby, is intent on doing something new for each show.
This year is no exception. Alexandra Street will be closed to traffic and models will strut the city street to showcase the work of students enrolled in the Diploma in Fashion Design.
The show will start at 5.30pm under a marquee. Although exclusive ticket holders will be able to sit in comfort to watch the show, the street will remain open to pedestrian traffic so the public can also view the event.
Ashby says the decision to hold the Wintec fashion show in the street made sense. “We want to celebrate that Wintec is in Alexandra Street – that Wintec is in the city.”
Every year the show draws on the expertise of students from across Wintec, including hair and beauty, music, photography and communication students.
It provides students with an opportunity to gain valuable real-world experience and expand their portfolio of work. It also gives fashion students experience working with other professionals.
Ashby says the key to making sure everything runs smoothly is communication and preparation.
“We always try to do things in advance and although there are always last minute challenges, it always turns out right on the night,” she says.
Producing garments for the show is a huge undertaking for the students too. This year’s inspiration for first year students is the year 1864, in recognition of Hamilton’s 150th birthday that will also be celebrated in the city centre on the day.
The pressure for second year students is even greater. Although not constrained by theme, they’re required to produce an entire collection of three to five looks, and no one is guaranteed a spot on the runway.
Ashby is committed to producing a professional event so all students must reach a level of quality before they are allowed to show.
“We’re very conscious that the best quality work goes out,” Ashby says.
With participants still to be finalised there is a sense of uncertainty in the workroom.
“I’m excited. I’m nervous, as it’s still unfinished. But all together I’m excited to see all the collections being put together and finalised. And it should be fun down on Alexandra Street. It’s a really cool location,” says student Madeleine Schulz.
Second year student Ari Brown says the Hamilton event generates valuable exposure for students that they might not get in larger centres.
“It’s nice to start a movement here,” says Brown. “It’s huge when people start liking my aesthetic, my designs, my concepts.”
Former Wintec fashion student, Mitchell Vincent has reaped the benefits from the exposure of the fashion show, appearing at New Zealand Fashion Week and is now working on his collection here in Hamilton.
With awards for the most promising first and second year students up for grabs, you would think there might be conflict behind the scenes, but Wintec students are really supportive of each other, says Ari Brown.
“Our designs are totally different, so the only competition is myself.”
By Wintec journalism students, Isaac Kerr, Dasha Kuprienko, Te Ahua Maitland and Pip Stephenson