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August 13, 2012 | by  | in Features | [ssba]

He Taura Whiri I Te Tangata

Styli Māori

“Miromoda is a combination of Māori and Italian languages. Miro is Māori for the traditional weaving term to twine fibres and moda is the Italian word for fashion”.

The Indigenous Māori Fashion Apparel Board (IMFAB) was founded in 2008, as a non-profit organisation, instituted to advance the quality status of Māori fashion design and to raise its artistic and professional standards.

IMFAB is responsible for the annual Miromoda awards, by raising the profile of emerging and established Māori designers, which meet a high standard of quality, authenticity and aesthetics.

In June 2012, aspiring Māori Fashion Designers from throughout the country as well as internationally, saw entries judged by an astute panel including founding Director of NZ Fashion Week Dame Pieter Stewart, Luicre publisher Jack Yan, former European fashion buyer and retailer Anthony Morsinhof and Communications Executive and fashion enthusiast Paula Collins.

Organised as a closed Project Runway-style competition, each designer is assigned models—complete with catwalk makeup, hair and shoes—to present their collection and must in no more than ten minutes explain their design concept, the materials used, the  commercial potential and target market.

In awarding the winners and runners up, Stewart commended the Miromoda Showcase for cementing its deserved place at New Zealand Fashion Week: “It [Miromoda] is popular with all media watchers and buyers, especially the international representatives.”

Notably, for three consecutive years, Auckland’s AUT Fashion graduates have won the Emerging and Overall winner stake in the annual Miromoda Māori Fashion Design Awards Competition.

This year, Monique Lynch is Miromoda’s 2012 Emerging and Overall winner. She has a BComm in Accounting, BA in Spanish from Otago University, and a Bachelor of Design from AUT.

Monique will be featuring at the Miromoda Showcase at NZ Fashion Week in September 2012, an opportunity near on impossible without significant support for emerging designers.

Wellington region attained good results in the t-shirt category, aimed at secondary and tertiary student participation. Including Victoria University Māori student Hohepa Thompson amongst the runner up placings.

Notably, Māori Tauira who engage in design and fashion do not necessarily start and finish at one tertiary institution, but engage in diverse range of learning opportunities as a means to inspire and inform their creative journey. The most important thing is keeping an open mind, and always be prepared to learn and be inspired by difference.

Miromoda co-founder Ata Te Kanawa stated “We have received healthy interest from Europe, particularly Holland, Germany and France which poses an interesting, exciting and huge challenge for us”.

Last year’s overall winner Adrienne Whitewood awed audiences with her stunning award winning collection, Te Aho Tapu (the sacred thread). Adrienne graduated from AUT, and went on to study Nga Mahi Whakaairo and Tikanga at Waiariki in Rotorua.

Adrienne’s prize included a ticket to attend Australian Fashion Week, the chance to be part of a show at New Zealand Fashion Week and the REAL New Zealand Festival that ran alongside the 2011 Rugby World Cup. She commented that “to be honest, the shows confirmed how edgy we are back home and that the Māori story is unique to the world; so our prints and aesthetic definitely give us a global point of difference.”


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