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Meet the winners of the iD Emerging Designer Awards

Friday 24th March 2017

The top award went to a designer with a jacket obsession.


Models wearing supreme award winner Nehma Vitols' designs.
Models wearing supreme award winner Nehma Vitols' designs.

Photo: Chris Sullivan/Seen in Dunedin

Minimalism converged with maximalism and abstract ideas sat alongside more conventional or commercial approaches to design at last night’s 13th iD Dunedin International Emerging Designer Awards in Dunedin.

Finer details on garments included hand-stitched patterns, screen printing on the backs of coats and jackets, text written down the legs of trousers, sequins made from recycled soda cans, embroidery, raw edges on floating silks and a handful of repurposed clothing including denim jeans. There were elongated sleeves galore, and silhouettes in some instances were pushed to the extreme.

There were stories behind each of the 30 designer collection with some taking a more literal approach than others. One menswear designer saw models rolled up and wrapped in layers of quilted fabric inspired by the designer’s love of sushi. Another, applied intricate origami techniques and abstract organic shapes to create jaw-dropping silhouettes that playfully bounced like giant slinky springs as the models cruised along the runway, transforming them into almost larger-than-life paper lanterns.

But while each collection had its merits the night was also about the iD Fashion Week awards. Here are the winners:

SUPREME AWARD - NEHMA VITOLS, 27, University of Technology Sydney

Nehma Vitols with a model wearing one of her garments.
Nehma Vitols with a model wearing one of her garments.

Photo: Chris Sullivan/Seen in Dunedin

I’m in a bit of shock and my model was saying I was flustered when I found out [that I won]. I was shaking and I’m still feeling a bit like I’m having an out of body experience.

My collection is pretty much a fascination with my own creative process and my obsession with [archetypal] jackets including the biker, trench and blazer. I abstracted the jackets through my pattern laying. I used three different types of fabrication [including cotton, paper and silk] and I applied acrylic, bonding, laser cutting and top stitching to form hybrid materials.

I’ve still got a bit of saving to do, but I want to go to the UK and I would love to work for McQueen. I’ll knock on the door and ask if they need an extra set of hands, and then I’ll keep trying and go back the next day and see what happens.

2ND PLACE - LILA JOHN, 31, University of Applied Arts Vienna, Austria

Designer Lila John with a model wearing one of her garments at the iD  Emerging Designer Awards.
Designer Lila John with a model wearing one of her garments at the iD Emerging Designer Awards.

Photo: Sonia Sly

This [award] came as a very good surprise and I’m very overwhelmed. My collection is all about 90s girlhood, cinema and sports magazines. I wanted to combine street wear with haute couture.  When I was designing I went to a lot of basketball matches and training, so that was also a great inspiration for the collection. I’m already working on a winter collection and I want to keep working along a similar aesthetic, but with new techniques.

3RD PLACE - PAUL CASTRO, 46, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Australia

Paul Castro takes menswear and transform them into womenswear.
Paul Castro takes menswear and transform them into womenswear.

Photo: Sonia Sly

I have no words and I didn’t expect [to win] anything at all. My collection is mainly about finding new ways to do fashion more sustainably and everything has been re-purposed. I take menswear garments and transform them into womenswear [so] it’s a technical challenge, but also a conceptual challenge to turn menswear into womenswear [and I think] as designers we have a responsibility to make things better for the environment.

The quality of the original garments have to be at a certain standard to repurpose them and some are really hard to work with. In the future, I’m looking for partners and companies who want to work with me so that I can work with their surplus.

EMILIA WICKSTEAD INTERNSHIP WINNER - EMILY CAMERON, 28, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Australia

Emily Cameron is inspired by the superflat art movement. iD Fashion Week
Emily Cameron is inspired by the superflat art movement.

Photo: Sonia Sly

I don’t even know what to say, really. But I love [Emilia’s work] and I’m looking forward to being in London. My collection was inspired by a trip to Japan and the work of Takashi Murakami’s superflat art movement. I was looking at 2-D and 3-D design and sculptural fabrics. I’m really happy with the result of the runway show and any time you see your work on models it brings your work to life, [so] winning this was just the bonus.

Other winners included Talia Jimenez, University of Technology Sydney (Most Commercial Collection), Megan Stewart, Massey University Wellington (Editorial Prize), and Tess Norquay, Massey University Wellington (Excellence In Design).

The winners of the iD International Emerging Designer Awards will hit the runway again with national guest Stolen Girlfriends Club, along with a host of local Dunedin designers tonight and tomorrow night at the Dunedin Railway Station.

*Sonia Sly will be presenting a podcast about the emerging designers on RNZ’s My Heels Are Killing Me in the weeks to come.


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Sonia's a storyteller, fashion finder, sort of writer, poetry lover, cold weather hater, mother of one and non-stop thinker.
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