#BTS Resene Colour of Fashion

If you follow us on IG or FB, you’ll be well aware of a little thing called Resene NZ Fashion Tech: Colour Of Fashion (it’s a mouthful, we know).

For the uninitiated, over the past few years, our Diploma in Fashion Technology students work on a project for New  Zealand Fashion Week Resene Designer Runways.  The students receive a brief, written by NZ Fashion Tech, with a story which they must use as inspiration.  Colour of Fashion is sponsored by Resene, who provide the paint pots which match the colour of a sari which the students use as fabric for their design.  The students pick numbers out of a hat, and get to pick their paint pots and saris in that order.  They sketch design ideas, and do research if needed, before deciding on a design they want to create.  This is then approved by a panel of judges, and the students can start creating!  They design the pattern, make toiles, rework the pattern, then finally make the real garment out of their sari!

Their creations from this project are judged, and there are several different prizes – inclusion in a spread in NEXT magazine, a chance for their design to open the Resene Designer Runways, and in recent years, a trip to the Bannari Aman Institute of Technology in India with the Prime Minister’s Scholarship for Asia.

All our Diploma students from Wellington and Auckland have worked incredibly hard on their projects, with amazing results!  We heard from two Auckland students, Fiona and Sam, about what was fun, challenging and different about their Colour of Fashion projects.


Sam enjoyed working from the story, and was inspired by Anahera’s imaginative journey and her Resene paint pot ‘Poppy’.  She was one of the last students to chose a paint pot, and knew she wanted ‘Poppy’ from the start, so luckily no one else picked it before her!  Inspired by classic feminine silhouettes and designs, Sam knew in the back of her mind that she really wanted to create a beautiful red dress.  Keeping the brief in mind, Sam also thought that a dress with a feminine silhouette and a voluminous skirt would fit well with the design restrictions.  She thought that the brief was quite broad and creative, so she found it easy to design for the brief, which felt like really working in the fashion industry.

Research was important for Sam; she likes intricate details and had to create the perfect detailing to enhance her bright dress.  She sketched many variations of detailing, on different parts of the dress, but finally decided on the layered-triangle belt.  The belt Sam created for her dress was inspired by the feathers of the albatross featured in the brief, ‘Anahera’s Journey’.  To create the belt, Sam used a fused black sari, which she cut into 240 individual squares, which were all folded twice into a triangle shape, then steamed individually and sewn carefully into the right place on the belt.  She had two different designs for the triangles, and the entire belt took five hours to create.  This was the most time consuming part of her design!

A new challenge Sam faced was pattern-making with a limited amount of fabric; and using the sari left no room for errors.  Sam wanted as much volume as possible in the skirt of her dress, so cut the front panels of the skirt on a bias, and tried to save material in other areas of the dress, so she could maximize the volume of her skirt.

Sam enjoyed NZ Fashion Week, and especially liked the diversity of the models.  As press articles have been released about the project, she has found more people appreciating her work as more than just school work.

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Designing to the brief was a little hard for Fiona, who spent a long time researching her design and redesigning her garment to get design approval.  Fiona prefers to design streetwear to clothing for the runway, so her design was initially too close to streetwear.

Fiona prefers to design in more muted colours, but when she saw her Resene paint pot ‘Dare Devil’ she was reminded of her childhood favourite colour, bright orange, and was inspired to use bright colours.  Using Resene ‘Dare Devil’ was exciting for Fiona as she thought the colour was emotive, and her design tapped into that with a dramatic low cut back, and dark pants.  However, her sari had small stripes on it, which frayed faster than saris with a solid colour meaning she had to sew fast, and fuse her sari often.

Inspired by the albatross in Anahera’s journey; Fiona used the albatross’ vast wingspan as inspiration for the skirt of her design.  The most difficult part of the process for Fiona was getting her toiles to fit different models properly, as she was making trousers, which fit her, but were too short for the model.  In order to achieve the correct hip to waist proption, Fiona created five or six toiles!

As a winner of the Prime Minister’s Scholarship for Asia, Fiona travelled to the Bannari Aman Institute of Technology in India for a month.  At Bannari Aman, Fiona recreated her garment, this time using a bright red, lotus print sari.  Like her original sari, this also frayed a lot, which meant speedy sewing was required.  Amongst the NZFT students at Bannari Aman, there was another fashion show of the recreated garments, and Fiona’s new garment won; winner her a cash prize of 15,000 Rupees which Fiona chose to give to local charities before returning home.

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To see all the 2016 Resene NZ Fashion Tech Colour of Fashion garments, check out https://www.facebook.com/NZFashionTech/?fref=ts


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