Tessa Paayman's life changed after being offered an invitation to show her outfits at New York Fashion Week next month. The 21-year-old designer talks to Mark Story.

1 What inspires you?

Anything can inspire me, if I am in a creative mood I view the world through a different lens basically. I look at details within architecture, nature, animals, basically anything I am near and see how I could translate it into a garment. I can dream up a whole look in my mind and then if it is a strong idea a whole collection. I can also be given fabric or a material and just drape it on a dress form or test what I can do with it and a design can come from that as well. I am lucky that not only can I dream around design but I also have that practical side to designing it as well.

2 Who is your favourite designer?


I don't really have a favourite but I like aspects of Alexander McQueen, Iris Van Herpen, John Galliano and Guo Pei. The reason I don't have a favourite is that I have big plans for my career and hope to be competing with these designers. I have a strong belief that with New Zealand's ingenuity and creativity we could be at the front of fashion. The reason these designers stand out to me is that they are bold and very different, which is what I love and how I like to design.

3 Are there advantages/disadvantages to modelling your own designs?

The advantage is that I can show that I am confident wearing my designs and I would hope it means others would be too. A lot of the time I have worn them because I really enjoy modelling and I know that a model can make or break a garment and I want my designs shown off to the best advantage. However, the disadvantages to that is I miss out seeing them walked down the runway and feeling the audiences response to my clothes.

4 Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

This is a hard question, if you had asked me at the beginning of this year I would have said working in the film industry in costume. But now I would hope that in 10 years I have started my label, that I have stores across New Zealand, beginning to break into the Australian market and have a strong online store as well so that when I'm ready to launch my label internationally it already is established and has a following.

5 What's the biggest myth about the fashion industry? I will let you know when I do.

-To help Tessa get to New York go to tessapaaymans.com