A fashion designer from Masterton has captured top honours at the 23rd annual Hokonui Fashion Design Awards.
Former Masterton man Kerry Wong took the Carvin Collections - Ensign Award of Excellence that comes with a $12,000 prize package in the men's collection section of the awards show that was held in Gore at the weekend.
Awards convenor Heather Paterson said an audience of over 400 people watched the preliminary Strictly Design show at the Gore Town and Country Stadium on Friday night and on Saturday evening a sell-out crowd of 700 people attended the gala awards evening.
Mr Wong is in Australia and did not attend the awards, she said, at which more than 200 garments were on show.
The judging panel of Benny Castle, Theresa Brady, Debbie Lawson and Emily Kerse spent hours judging the finalist garments before coming up with the section winners and the overall winner.
Panel spokesman Benny Castle had told the audience the judges were all highly impressed with the creativity of the designs and said he was "blown away" by the "absolutely amazing" awards event.
Gore District Mayor Tracy Hicks and the Mayor of Invercargill, Tim Shadbolt, had strutted the catwalk barefoot at the awards event and their painted toenails had caused an eruption of wolf-whistles and cheers from the audience, Ms Paterson said.
A section open to secondary school designers and a Steampunk section debuted at the awards event this year.
Ms Paterson said the new sections were held to gauge the response from schools and she was pleased with the quality of entries received.
"On the basis of the success of the competition this year we will promote the competition further to ensure that it continues to move forward," she said.
Other winners included Allison Brooks, of Dunedin, who won the Young Designer Award; Andre Johnson, of Gore, who won the Southland Designer Award; Angela Ward, of Hastings, who won the Streetwear Award; Amanda Hasselman and Kate Scott, of Glenorchy, who won the Steampunk Award, and Hayley Baston, of Hastings, who won the Secondary Schools Award of Excellence.
Mr Wong could not be reached for comment yesterday.
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