Rosette Hailes-Paku and Phoebe Lee have been selected as finalists for the iD Fashion International Emerging Designer Awards. Alongside thirty-three applicants from around the world, they will be showcasing five garments from their graduate collection during Dunedin’s iD Fashion Week.
For both Rose and Phoebe, fashion has always played a big part in their self-expression. Phoebe started experimenting with her style as a teen. “I started playing around more with dressing out-there in my teenage years. I remember getting so many looks from everyone in the public that I was really annoyed at first and then got used to it so now I don’t notice it. We’re all kinda like walking billboards; people will naturally judge one another by what they wear and how they look.” Rose found that fashion has become an integral part of her identity. “If I went out of the house wearing just a t-shirt and some jeans I would feel so uncomfortable and like I wasn’t myself. I feel comfortable dressing like I do and that’s how I want to present myself.”
The process of studying fashion and creating collections has not been an easy road. Phoebe noted that “people seem to think fashion is very frivolous and there’s not much to it. They don’t realise how stressful it can be. There is a lot of research, writing, and reading that goes into the process”. Rose commented on the intensive labour that goes into producing a collection, saying “there are so many hours that go into it. When we get deep into a project you’re there all day and all night. It’s so intense but fun and rewarding”.
Rose’s graduate collection is entitled “The Story of the Girl Who Wanted Pink Hair” and plays around with her experiences in a Catholic high school. “My collection explores the ideas of rebellion and innocence and being in a place [where] I felt like my creativity and self-expression was diminished”. Her garments incorporate a range of belts, ties and buckles to represent the restrictions felt in her schooling environment, while also using free flowing silhouettes to represent childlike innocence.
Phoebe’s collection is “Dream Love Thrive Create,” and is based around creativity and self-expression. “It’s a celebration of being unique and expressing yourself through dress and style.” Phoebe’s work incorporates her art that has been digitally printed onto material, like vegan leatherette, which has then been turned into patches and keychains. Her collection is inspired by Japanese style, with each piece juxtaposing different colours, patterns, and materials together.
This year celebrates the twentieth year of iD Dunedin Fashion Week. The Emerging Designers show takes place on the 16th of March and will showcase thirty collections from designers from twenty-one fashion institutions. Rose and Phoebe are seven of the students representing New Zealand fashion institutes. Each collection will be on display in the Dunedin Public Art Gallery on the 15th of March.
Following Emerging Designers, Rose will be completing post-graduate studies in fashion design, focusing on social media marketing and establishing her collaborative brand Busy Going Crazy within New Zealand’s fashion industry. Phoebe is taking a break from studying but will be continuing to create more art and produce more garments in the near future.