Jessica Grubisa is hoping her love of hip-hop and hours spent on Facebook will lead to a catwalk slot for her designs at New Zealand Fashion Week.
The 22-year-old Auckland designer is one of 10 finalists in the Westpac Young Designer Competition, which offers three contestants a chance to showcase a mini-collection at Fashion Week next month.
Grubisa, who is in her final year at Whitecliffe College of Arts and Design, came up with her entries as part of her course work last year.
"I was inspired by the birth of hip-hop in the late 70s and early 80s, and wanted to explore it because it's a relatively new genre."
That led her to discover more about African tribes and make connections between them and hip-hop. The collection includes her handmade print featured in a shirt, blazer, dress, cowhide cape, fur-sleeved sweatshirt and raw wool handmade "chief" cape.
But while the designs were completed some time ago, Grubisa has spent the past 10 days trying to contact as many people as she can to get them to vote for her. "This is the most I've ever been on Facebook in my life. I've been sending as many invites to as many people as I possibly can."
The 10 finalists have until midnight tonight to get as many public votes as possible, via Facebook. The three designers with the most votes will show their collections at the Westpac Red Collection show on September 1.
The overall winner, decided by stylist and photographer Karen Inderbitzen-Waller, singer and designer Boh Runga and Zambesi menswear designer Dayne Johnston, will receive $5000 and the services of a business mentor.
Grubisa aims to start her own label next year.
Go to http://www.facebook.com/westpacyoungdesigner and click on contests to see designs and vote.