New Zealand Fashion Week

Miromoda show celebrates Maori culture and more

Viva Magazine

An Adrienne Whitewood design in the Miromoda show. Picture / Fiona Goodall/Getty.

By Fiona Ralph

Today's Miromoda show at New Zealand Fashion Week was a fitting celebration of indigenous culture after the week's earlier cultural controversy.

The show included 12 collections from emerging and established Maori designers, selected from competition entrants by Dame Pieter Stewart, founder of NZ Fashion Week.

Hohepa Thompson's piupiu print and political statement were highlights of the show, with models flinging records labelled with messages about drugs, child abuse and violence. The Wellington designer of label Hori said backstage after the show that these symbolised criminal records, and his collection questioned why 51 per cent of the prison population was Maori, when Maori people make up 15 per cent of the general population. He is also working on an upcoming exhibition in conjunction with Wellington inmates.

Another highlight was Adrienne Whitewood's casual collection, with pretty dresses, wearable tui and flax prints, and a cute sweatshirt with poi motif





Adrienne Whitewood at NZ Fashion Week 2014

Adrienne Whitewood

Adrienne Whitewood (Rotorua)


Adrienne Whitewood is very passionate about the emotional connection her customers have with her clothes. Her label is predominantly sold in her Rotorua boutique, Ahu Boutique, which also supports other indigenous designs and manufacturers. Adrienne believes her womenswear label connects with her customers so well because it allows them to associate with the pride of Aotearoa’s cultural heritage.

What Adrienne loves about New Zealand, and Maori designs in particular, is that everything has a meaningful story behind it as well as a purpose. Her clothing in-store is ready-to-wear and utilises merino, basic cut out cottons and dresses however on the runway Adrienne likes to enhance her label with a slightly edgier aesthetic.

This will be Adrienne Whitewood’s fourth time at NZ Fashion Week in the Miromoda show and this year the show will bring awareness to her website’s re-launch. Adrienne’s career highlight is opening her own boutique, which she hopes to do again in another New Zealand city. What Leslie loves about the New Zealand fashion industry is how established New Zealand designers are so supportive of new designers. She also sees New Zealand as a leader in indigenous products and she hopes she can apply what she has learnt with Ahu Boutique to overseas indigenous cultures.


Ready to Rock Fashion Week

(Rotorua Daily Post) Tipped as the "one to watch", Rotorua designer Adrienne Whitewood admits she's a bit nervous ahead of New Zealand Fashion Week.

Fashion Week starts in Auckland on Monday, with Ms Whitewood's pig leather inspired collection forms part of the Miromoda show on Friday, after she won the supreme award at this year's Miromoda Maori Fashion Awards.

Showing in the same show will be Rotorua's Leanne Mulcahy and Leilani Rickard, whose Weather the Storm rainwear collection took out the Miromoda Avant Garde category.

If you think the world of fashion is all about glamour, think again - Ms Whitewood said backstage before a fashion show is chaos. "It's just boom, boom, boom," she said.

Models' body shapes may have changed since their fittings meaning last minute alterations, while some models just don't show up at all. Fancy hairdos have to be maneuvered into the clothes and make-up smears cleaned off garments, she said.

It's Ms Whitewood's third time at New Zealand Fashion Week, but this year there's a bit more hype surrounding her. She will be followed by Maori Television's Native Affairs while Australasian website Concrete Playground yesterday named Ms Whitewood the "number one designer to watch this year" placing her above established designers such as Andrea Moore, Trelise Cooper and Zambesi.

"It's nerve-wracking because it's a lot to live up to," she said.

It's a hectic time for the 25-year-old. As well as putting the finishing touches to her designs and preparing promotional materials for the worldwide media attending, she plans to relaunch her website next week. She's also preparing to open her own store in Rotorua next month. Currently her designs take up one corner at The Living Room Collective on Eruera St. She is also fitting in study at Waiariki Institute of Technology.

Meanwhile, Ms Rickard said she and Ms Mulcahy were "ready to rock and roll" after a busy few months.

She is delighted with the pair's capes, raincoats and umbrellas, which are printed with microscopic images of the cellular walls of harakeke (flax). "It's going to be quite amazing to see people's reactions," she said. "The story behind the images is what people will be gobsmacked by."

Taupo's Mitchell Vincentwill also be part of the Miromoda show.