A former Horowhenua College student, keen on fashion, is a finalist in this year's Resene Colour Fashion Show for graduates of Whitecliffe Fashion Tech in Wellington, to be held this Friday.
Natacha Wendt, 26, or Tacha to her friends and family, has always been keen on fashion and said she has been sewing since she was 7. "I did it throughout high school too and was top of my class."
This week's show is usually part of the annual NZ Fashion Week, so quite high profile for the students about to graduate as fashion designers.
Because the fashion week will not take place this year, the Resene Colour Fashion Show has now opted to go it alone with two in-house shows for its 16 finalists (out of 25 graduands), one show in Wellington and one in Auckland.
The theme for the show, part of their graduation work, was new beginnings and had to focus on life after Covid-19 lockdown. It was a theme that brought back some haunting memories for many students.
Tacha's colour was Resene Pursuit, a racy combustible orange, she said.
"I found lockdown a great time to relax at home and enjoy a slow pace of life, equally it allowed me to expand my passionate energy for creativity but my bubbly personality struggled with not having the energy from my friends.
"This outfit is for a bold, determined woman, who holds herself with pride and knows what she wants."
Despite her passion for fashion, after high school Tacha opted for a career as a nanny. After six years she started sewing again but quickly found she could do with more training.
"The students at Whitecliffe were quite a mix. Some were as young as 16 and others were in their 50s," she said. The Fashion Tech programme offers a number of programmes, from one year to two or three, if you want to do the lot, which Tacha has done.
"I have acquired amazing skills in those years, such as pattern-making," she said. In the past 20 years she had made clothes for herself and her brothers and has now got the skills to turn that into a career.
The show is sponsored by Resene, a house paint company, that buys the silk and dyes it ready for the students to turn into garments.
"We made nine garments for the show, three sets for three different people."
She said is keen on plant dyes and makes sustainable lounge wear and has landed a job with Nisa, an ethical underwear manufacturer in Wellington, but is planning a road trip prior to that to relax after all the hard graft she had to put in to graduate after three years of study.
One day she is hoping to open her own business, but the fashion world is tough. "You have to find your own niche first," she said.
She said she was really motivated during her journey into the fashion industry and said young people shouldn't be afraid to follow their dreams.