Textile design graduate Kelly Olatunji has won the supreme Zonta Design Award after impressing judges with a clear-minded plan for progressing her career.
The annual awards are jointly organised by international women’s organisation Zonta, and Massey University’s College of Creative Arts, supported by Wellington business with the aim of furthering the status of women in design.
Applicants are expected to be community minded and show initiative with regard to their careers and help others in the design sector.
Ms Olatunji, who graduates with a Bachelor of Design with Honours on Thursday, says she has always been interested in the manufacturing and business side of design.
“I have two main goals, the first is to set up my own textile design business. At the end of last year I jumped at an opportunity to purchase a small screen printing business, have set up a small studio in my garage, have my first freelance job and am currently working on a business plan.”
My long-term goal is to become a leader in the New Zealand textile industry, promoting sustainable fabric choices and working with new innovation and research to create smarter textiles,” she says.
The judging panel were also impressed with the 22 year-old’s voluntary work in the community, including casual volunteer work at the Suzanne Aubert Soup Kitchen and with the textile collection at Te Papa.
Ms Olatunji says the latter role fitted in well with her career aspirations in the textile industry.
“I enjoy working in a field that encourages working across design disciplines such as fashion, furniture and graphic design, challenging the preconceptions of fabric and surface design.”
Ms Olatunji was presented with a cheque for $3500 for the Supreme Zonta Award and another $500 for being a category winner in the textile design section. She also receives mentoring from Textiles ES Design, which sponsored her award application.
Other winners, who each receive $500 and mentoring from their sponsor, are Kate Cameron-Donald (industrial design, sponsored by Industrial Weta Workshop); Katinka Muijlwijk (fashion design, sponsored by Fashion Cybele); Kate Adolph (photographic design, sponsored by Photography Imagelab); Charlotte Corrigall (communication design, sponsored by Saatchi & Saatchi) and Anna Hill (spatial design, sponsored by Spatial Limited Edition).