DESIGNS at this year’s MLT Hokonui Fashion Design Awards ranged from the elegant and eminently wearable to the avant-garde.
Held at the Gore Town & Country Club over two days, the crowds were treated to viewing 340 garments from 250 entrants, some from as far afield as China (Wuhan Polytechnic in conjunction with the Southern Institute of Technology).
Although entered in the menswear section, overall Award of Excellence winner Donna Dinsdale’s design also embraced the unorthodox. The Tauranga design tutor’s ensemble of layered tweeds in a palette of duns and khakis, topped off with a mustard PVC pilgrim’s hat, generated a collective intake of breath from the crowd when it hit the catwalk, and proved to be a popular winner.
Speaking on behalf of fellow judges Sally-Ann Mullin and Wynn Crawshaw, Sara Munro, of Company of Strangers, Dunedin, praised the “amazing” calibre of entries.
The judging panel had scoured more than 340 garments from 250 entrants to identify section and overall winners and had been “astonished” by the level of skill and attention to detail, she said.
Southern designers were well represented among open section winners, including Viv Tamblyn, of Gore, in the Open Streetwear section and Debbie Smith, of Waimumu, in the Open Recycled section.
Helen Marshall, of Invercargill, won the Open Natural Fibres section.
Viv Tamblyn received the Heather Paterson QSM Memorial Trophy for Best Southland Designer.
Open Nightlife section winner Lucy Hill, of the Hagley School of Fashion, Christchurch, was chosen as 2019 Young Designer of the Year.
Founder Heather Paterson’s husband, Wade, who kept the event going following her death in 2015, announced on Saturday night his family’s continued sponsorship of the awards until 2024.