Recent fashion design graduate Sandra Tupu, 45, took out the top two awards at last night's Westfield Style Pasifika Fashion Awards with her three piece collection, Tatau, winning the Supreme Award and her menswear design of the same name taking second place.

Judge Denise L'Estrange-Corbet said it was unprecedented that a designer had taken out the Supreme Award and and been named runner-up.

"It shows the strength of the collection. She was a stand-out winner," L'Estrange-Corbet said.

"Her garments were modern, had quirky twists, which we always like, and blended together really well. It was a very commercial collection. It could be put straight into a store, and will sell, and that is what it is about."

The Style Pasifika awards are recognised for launching some of New Zealand's finest design and performance talent and showcasing raw and indigenous style.

Held last night at Auckland's Vector Arena, the show is a mix of traditional and contemporary fashion, music and dance.

Tupu graduated from the Auckland University of Technology last year with a Bachelor of Design majoring in fashion and specialising in menswear.

"I was an at-home mum for a long time but have always been interested in design and fashion," she said.

"I've made a lot of my clothes since I was young - my grandma and my mum taught me."

Samoan tattoo - or tatau - was the inspiration behind the design that won Tupu top honours.

"The art of tatau is deeply embedded into Samoan culture and history and my collection explores this. It's part of my heritage, my inspiration and my passion," she said.

Tupu's winning designs feature innovative use of natural materials such as antique flour bags, army blankets, calico and merino wool.

"The traditional shape of the tatau, when unwrapped from the body represents the Pe'a - the Samoan flying bat," she said.

"I took the physical bat shape and played around with it - creating some interesting drape shapes in parts of the garments. Drape is generally only used in women's wear so it was a real challenge to keep a masculine look."

The judges described Tupu's three piece suits as "very wearable", "beautifully made" and "sophisticated".

FULL LIST OF WINNERS
Supreme Winner

Sandra Tupu (Titirangi, Auckland)

Runner up

Sandra Tupu (Titirangi, Auckland)

Youthtown Traditionally Inspired

Winner: Lindah Lepou & Louina Fifita (Mt Eden, Auckland)
Runner up: Kohai Grace (Porirua)

Resene Asia Pasifika

Winner: Vanessa Roscoe (Mangere, Auckland)
Runner up: Margaret Lewis (Westmere, Auckland)

MAX Three Piece Collection of Day Wear

Winner: Sandra Tupu (Titirangi, Auckland)
Runner up: Blaire Archibald (Mt Eden, Auckland)

NZAF Pasifika Hero

Winner: James Leuii (Westmere, Auckland)
Runner up: Naomi Spicer & Terry Whaitiri (Parnell, Auckland)

Flava Urban Street Wear

Winner: Margaret Lewis (Westmere, Auckland)
Runner up: Fa'afoi Robyn Seaso (Porirua)

Barkers Pasifika Menswear

Winner: Sandra Tupu (Titirangi, Auckland)
Runner up: Amber Bridgman (Dunedin)

getfunkd Hutt Evening Wear

Winner: Sharah Friis (Tauranga)
Runner up: Hayley Erasmus (Mt Maunganui)

Pacific Blue Pasifika Bridal

Winner: Debra Laraman (KatiKati)
Runner up: Visesio Louis Thomsen (Manurewa, Auckland)

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Te Puni Kokiri Parent & Child

Winner: Erna Van Der Wat (Rothesay Bay, Auckland)
Runner up: Hannah Blackburn (Palmerston North)

- NZ HERALD STAFF