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Masterton isn’t generally known for its fashion scene, but that could all change once three final-year fashion design students, who all hail from the Wairarapa, graduate.
But Victoria Green, Claire Walker, both 21 and Brita Dellabarca, 22, aren’t just from the same region. They all went to school together in Masterton, are good friends and are now set to make their mark at this year’s annual Massey Fashion Show with three distinct styles.
The show on November 16-17, being held as part of the BLOW creative arts festival, will see the Great Hall of the Museum Building converted into a catwalk to parade the work of all the young designers including the Wairarapa trio who say it was more by accident rather than design they have all ended up studying the same course programme at the College of Creative Arts.
“We all just kind of decided without telling each other what we were going to do, but there was no plan B,” Claire says.
All were inspired to develop an interest in fashion design at Wairarapa College, but since then have diversified into their own respective styles.
Inspired by a semester as an exchange student at Cornell University in New York as a Massey exchange scholar, Victoria has incorporated her experience of the bright lights big city feel into tailored ready-to-wear designs, including sequinned jackets, complete with a screen-printed lining depicting the Big Apple skyline.
“Being In New York is such an overwhelming sensory experience,” she says, expressing a desire to return after developing a taste at Cornell for working as a theatre costume designer.
‘”Ideally I’d like to do backstage costuming on Broadway.”
Brita’s influences are a little closer to home but equally ambitious.
Specialising in leather work, her designs have been inspired by New Zealand contemporary artist Bill Hammond’s Buller bird paintings (named for 19th century ornithologist Walter Buller) which Brita has brought to life through moulding, carving and shaping leather, or using the material as adornments or attachments to other designs with a bunched feathery look and feel.
“It’s really my own interpretation of Bill Hammond’s birds, using more of the mood and imagery in his work rather than directly replicating the paintings.”
Claire is equally intricate in her embroidery work designing custom-made, hand-smocked garments, lined with buckram and featuring extensions that allow her garments to breathe more.
“I’ve always really enjoyed doing handwork even though it takes a lot of time.”
Both she and Brita are initially keen to continue crafting their fashion designs in Wellington, before, like Victoria, taking their talents further afield knowing each will have the support of the other two.
“We’ve known each other for so long and we trust each other’s opinions, “ Victoria says.
The Massey Fashion Show is being staged at 8pm, Friday November 16 and 3pm and *pm Saturday November 17 at the Great Hall of the Museum Building, Massey University, Buckle St, Wellington. Go to www.dashtickets.co.nz for ticket booking information.