Shauni James is a Rotorua Daily Post reporter

Flax inspires winning design (+video)

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A local grandmother and granddaughter fashion design team has won the established designer award at a fashion show in Wellington.

Leilani and Anastasia Rickard won the award at the Miromoda Runway Fashion Show in Porirua on Saturday, June 25, with the prize being a spot at New Zealand Fashion Week.

It offers Maori fashion designers an opportunity to showcase their talent and compete for one of these coveted spots.

Anastasia Rickard said getting the judges' advice at Miromoda was "very uplifting".

"It made us feel like we are on the right track."

She said the other designers there were "really lovely" and were from all over New Zealand, plus a video entry from Australia. "You can tell a lot of people take their work seriously and put a lot of effort into it."

Anastasia Rickard and Leilani Rickard have won the established fashion designer award at the 2016 Miromoda Runway Fashion Show. Photo / Ben Fraser
Anastasia Rickard and Leilani Rickard have won the established fashion designer award at the 2016 Miromoda Runway Fashion Show. Photo / Ben Fraser

Leilani Rickard said main judge Dame Pieter Stewart mentioned, "The standard is getting better and better each year because people are putting more time into their garments."

She said the amazing feedback from the judges and models was what "topped off" the show.

Miss Rickard said their brand, Natura Aura, combined nature, science, fashion and their culture. They used microscopic imagery of the flora and fauna of indigenous plants to create their designs, she said.

They said everything in nature had an aura or spirit, and was "the binding" of humanity.

"It's about bringing this concept into the 21st century."

They said their garments were "pretty classic styles" and consisted of hosiery, rainwear, umbrellas and now high street fashion.

They said the inspiration for this fashion design came when a fellow co-worker and friend of Miss Rickard's gave Mrs Rickard microscopic images of harakeke (flax).

Having worked with harakeke for 40 years and making piupiu for schools and kapa haka, she thought, "I have to do something really special with these".

Miss Rickard was interning at Scion at the time.

So far, they have just used harakeke imagery and are looking to work with imagery of other plants in the future.

The duo also had the opportunity to go to Paris last October and feature in the J Autumn Fashion Show.

The Paris show was held on a glass barge on the Seine. They learnt a lot from the Paris show and had since joined the Chamber of Commerce, and got a strategic planner and marketer.

Miss Rickard said they wanted to give a big "thank you" to all the people who had supported them, including their sponsors for the Paris show, Ngati Whakaue, Poutama and the Rickards Family Trust.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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