Seda Demirsoy was at the beach earlier this year when she witnessed a girl being laughed at for wearing a bikini.
"Her confidence broke," 24-year-old Demirsoy said of that defining moment, which inspired her to create her own plus-size clothing collection.
Demirsoy is in her third and last year at Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology studying a Bachelor of Creative Industries, majoring in fashion.
Her plus-size collection won big at the Hokonui Fashion Design Awards recently, picking up the Collections Award.
It was a first for the catwalk in the 30 years the show has been running.
"And it was a first for me – winning an award," Demirsoy said.
"I was so happy I couldn't sleep until 2.30am. It is a good feeling. It inspires me and my upcoming collection as well."
The Maungatapu-based student has gone through her own plus-size journey after a surgery reduced the amount of exercise she was doing.
She said she does not care what people think about the clothes she wears and she wants to inspire others to think the same.
Demirsoy, who was born in Turkey and moved to New Zealand when she was 12, said her ultimate goal is to be a well-known designer.
She dreams of one day showcasing a plus-size collection at London Fashion Week.
Her Hokonui Fashion Design Award-winning collection took a lot of time and broken needles, but has generated plenty of interest.
Demirsoy said she has received great feedback and a lot of messages from people wanting to buy the clothes, asking if there was more and what was coming next.
Her family is proud, she said.
"And my mum's like posting everywhere on Facebook."
Her plus-size collection will be on the runway at the Art for Kids fundraiser on September 8 at the Tauranga Art Gallery.
And what's next for Demirsoy? A five-piece summer collection – also plus-size – featuring digital print cultural motifs.
It will be her final collection of the year, will be a combination of luxury high-end fashion and lifestyle sports apparel, and will reflect who she is and where she comes from.
"The aim is for the women to embrace their body shape, be confident and to inspire others."