Models in Zoe Beck’s designs (left) and designer Zoe Beck (right).
You may have heard the name Zoe Beck already and if you haven’t we’re sure you will be in the near future, as this young designer has been busy winning fashion competitions left and right while still completing her studies at Tauranga Girls College. The ambitious sixteen year old has channelled her flair for design into starting her own eponymous label this year with the help of her mum and manager Donna Beck, who is guiding the talented teenager to achieve her dreams.
Zoe has been studying textiles and sewing at high school for the past three years and on the suggestion of one of her teachers started entering fashion competitions for fun. She initially entered a local wearable arts competition in Tauranga and won her category, more competitions followed and it wasn’t long before Zoe started setting her sights on mainstream fashion competitions. The emerging designer entered the Walk the Line competition for young designers run by the YMCA Auckland as part of New Zealand Fashion Week last year, although she didn’t initially place she returned this year and won the NZ Cultural Award at the 2016 event in August.
“It was amazing,” says Zoe of her experience at NZFW. “I love that kind of environment where it’s busy and the whole lead up to the competition is really good and the people that organise it from the YMCA are so nice and so helpful and they really help you along if you’re stuck. I really enjoyed it because there’s different sections you can enter. I entered cultural with my black and white tiki inspired dress and I won the section. I was pretty impressed.” Zoe has certainly been on a winning streak this year, her win at Walk the Line was preceded by a win and runner-up placing at the Hokonui Fashion Awards in July and she followed it up with another win when she took out the NZ Emerging Designer title at the Pacific Fusion Fashion Show in South Auckland in September. The win was unexpected for Zoe who was up against more established labels but she was thrilled with the prize and loved the experience of participating in the inaugural event.
The stunning young designer also models her own designs on occasion and bravely took to the main runway at New Zealand Fashion Week for her part in the Walk the Line show. “The runway is really long, it takes you ages to walk down there but I like it because everyone’s watching you and you feel important,” adds Zoe. “It is quite intense but it’s really cool!”
Zoe looked to Maori culture for her winning pieces as she wanted to make designs that were special and could be worn by women who wanted something unique to wear to events etc. Although she personally favours the wearable nature of streetwear, Zoe sees the market for her label as older than herself and is busy making plans to put her label into production after the success of showing her first collection this year.
While she studies sewing at school, Zoe laughingly admits that it’s not her strongest skill and she sees herself as more of an ideas person. She has one more year left at high school before she plans on moving forward with her own label, forgoing fashion school for real world experience. It’s a bold move but Zoe has already been busy building up a social media following for her brand and her multiple wins this year has seen the young designer field many requests for her garments so proper production won’t be far away to start meeting the demand. “People came up to me in the street during New Zealand Fashion Week and they’re like ‘Your stuff is amazing Zoe!’ and that’s so cool,” she says. “A lot of people find me on Facebook from their friends sharing my photos.”
Facebook fame aside, it’s clear that Zoe is definitely a young designer on the rise and with so much success already in such a short amount of time it will be interesting to see what she does next. Something tells us you will be hearing a lot more about Zoe Beck in future and we couldn’t be more excited for her.
Images by Helderlig Photography.