High-end fashion from low materials

Kei Ho's winning design for a cocktail dress crafted from Kleenex was inspired by cupcakes, tea parties and Chinese opera. Photo / Supplied
Kei Ho's winning design for a cocktail dress crafted from Kleenex was inspired by cupcakes, tea parties and Chinese opera. Photo / Supplied

Two Auckland fashion students have won a runway slot at New Zealand Fashion Week after crafting intricate cocktail dresses out of an unlikely material - toilet paper.

Kei Ho, 30, and Kapi Fonua, 19, were chosen from 34 trainee pattern makers from NZ Fashion Tech who designed and created dresses for the Kleenex Cottonelle Paper Dresses Challenge.

Tanya Jeffrey, 27, of Wellington, also won a place.

The brief was high fashion. The theme was softness and strength.

About 19,500 metres of toilet paper were used to create the garments, which were inspired by a diverse range of things including goldfish, clouds, woven baskets and The Jetsons television cartoon.

Out of the 34, three were chosen to show their dresses on the runway at six designer selection shows in September.

Members of the public can vote for their favourite of the three dresses and the winning design will have the privilege of being shown first.

Ho featured in television advertisements tracking his dress-making journey.

In the first, he described the design task as "a real challenge" because the material was so soft. But he managed to work his toilet paper into a fluffy and textured creation with lining and a zip.

Ho said the dress was inspired by cupcakes, tea parties and Chinese opera.

From July 29, go to tvnz.co.nz/paperdresses to vote for the best.

- Staff reporter

- NZ Herald

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