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Fashion to open the door between New Zealand and Malaysia
Thursday 7 March 2013, 8:49AM
By Whitireia New Zealand

Porirua student to team up with Malaysia’s top emerging designers

New Zealand and Malaysia’s top emerging fashion designers are collaborating in a competition created by Education New Zealand to celebrate New Zealand Week, in Malaysia from 11 March 2013.


Emerging talent from both countries, including Whitireia Community Polytechnic student Natalie Smith, will work together ‘virtually’ in pairs to create four distinct outfits, which will be judged by leading New Zealand footwear designer Kathryn Wilson and Malaysian celebrity designer Bill Keith. Each collection will be based on the theme of ‘rejuvenation’, and be inspired by the rebuild of Christchurch city.

“The prospect of being judged by such renowned designers is pretty daunting but I am really excited to see what this collaboration will create. Working with a Malaysian student will be an amazing experience. I hope we can learn from the judges and create some unique pieces we can be really proud of,” says Whitireia Community Polytechnic student and participant, Natalie Smith.

Education New Zealand has developed the Virtual Re-Start Fashion Competition to showcase the quality of New Zealand fashion institutions and attract the attention of more Malaysian students, encouraging them to come and study in New Zealand. 

“More than 2000 Malaysian students visited our shores last year and it is a privilege for Education New Zealand to foster on-going relations between both countries. The competition will showcase our cutting edge design talent and the high standard of education that fashion and design students can expect while studying within New Zealand,” says Grant McPherson, Chief Executive of Education New Zealand.

“The Re-Start Fashion Competition is an amazing way to showcase both New Zealand and Malaysian talent, and the fabulous opportunities made possible through the infusion of education and cultural diversity. It’s great to see Education New Zealand using creativity to market New Zealand education. These students represent the next generation in the fashion industry so I am really excited to see what they come up with,” says footwear designer Kathryn Wilson.

In the past, Education New Zealand has successfully attracted Malaysian students to New Zealand to study business, engineering and technology. The focus this year is arts and design, highlighting New Zealand’s growing reputation for design-related work on the international stage.

Students from institutions including Whitireia Community Polytechnic, Massey University, Otago Polytechnic, Bay of Plenty Polytechnic, WINTEC, and Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology (CPIT) are competing in the competition.

Education New Zealand is working closely with both the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFAT) and the Ministry of Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) in the delivery of the event as part of New Zealand Week in Malaysia.