Model Michaela O'Callaghan, designer Paige Carlyon and NZ Fashion Tech's Kevin Smith Model Michaela O'Callaghan, designer Paige Carlyon and NZ Fashion Tech's Kevin Smith CREDIT: Alexander PR

Young designer steals the show with gorgeous gown

Monday 1 December 2014, 3:53PM
By Alexander PR

Sancta Maria College student Paige Carlyon is basking in the glory of her overall Supreme Award at the inaugural Botany Design Awards (BDAs), but says she still can’t quite believe she came out on top in the contest for young designers.

The BDAs, established by east Auckland’s Botany Town Centre to help foster design talent among Auckland young people, culminated in an awards and fashion evening at the largest of the centre’s HOYTS cinemas on Monday 20 October. With more than 117 garments entered and displayed at Botany Town Centre, and 75 finalists’ outfits hitting the catwalk at the final event, Ms Carlyon was proud to take home the Supreme Award, which includes a scholarship to the New Zealand fashion school she already had her eye on.

“It’s amazing!” she says. “I still can’t believe I won the overall award. It is such an honour and really exciting because I love the whole design process, from pattern-making right to construction. I grew up learning to sew with my nana: the first things we ever made together were gowns and elaborate dresses for my dolls. With the BDAs it was really cool because I finally got to make a full-fledged gown which ended up being worn by one of my best friends to her school ball.

“The BDAs prize is huge and I’m excited by all of it, especially the NZ Fashion Tech scholarship. I was already enrolled there and three weeks before the BDAs awards night I had to go through a rigorous interview process which was a bit daunting, so I was really happy when I found out I’d been accepted to start in 2015. This scholarship prize is perfect for me – I couldn’t have asked for anything better and I am really looking forward to starting with Kevin and the team there.”

Prue Rehu, head textiles teacher at Sancta Maria College and Ms Carlyon’s teacher, is pleased with the winning result and credits her student’s dedication and determination for her Supreme Award win.

“This was a huge surprise for Paige. She truly deserves the award and worked hard for months perfecting the pattern, making mock-ups in calico and altering the final dress for the occasion. Her winning dress is a stunning creation. She has excelled in textiles this year and it has been an honour to help guide and mentor her. I’m excited for her to be heading to NZ Fashion Tech where she can continue to hone her talent and find her niche.”

BDAs judge and managing director of NZ Fashion Tech Kevin Smith was thrilled to have been part of the competition and believes it’s a great time for young New Zealanders to be entering the fashion industry.

“New Zealand designers are held in very high regard the world over because of the individuality of design that is fostered from the get-go. I love seeing the innovative minds at work in this country because Kiwis have a creativity like no other – reinforced again in this competition - and this is why fashion houses around the world are so interested in having New Zealanders work alongside them.

“It has been wonderful to be part of the inaugural BDAs and to see the personality of each designer shine through in the garments, and I am pleased to have Paige join us next year. All three judges gauged the entries by industry standards and we were blown away by the quality of what we saw. We are confident that the future of New Zealand fashion is in good hands!”

What are the BDAs?
The Botany Town Centre BDAs were developed to offer budding fashion designers Auckland-wide two design categories (Urban Wear and Occasion Wear), with each category judged on different criteria.

Urban Wear was judged on ‘on trend’ or ‘technically skilful’, and Occasion Wear ‘flair, elegance and originality’ or ‘technically skilful’. Both categories had individual year level winners (Year 11, Year 12 and Year 13), each of whom received a $500 Botany Town Centre gift card. In addition to the individual category winners, there was a People’s Choice award and a Supreme Overall Winner.

NZ Fashion Tech, Girlfriend Magazine, Centrepoint; Ideology and Purform have been supportive sponsors of the inaugural BDAs.

The 2014 BDAs judges were NZ Fashion Tech’s Kevin Smith, Centrepoint Fabric’s Meegan Pollock and Girlfriend Magazine’s Daisy Uffindell.