A group of talented Kiwi undergraduates have sewn up big fashion breaks at home and overseas. Ten silk designs by Diploma students at NZ Fashion Tech in Auckland and Wellington have been chosen to open the Resene Designer Runway at New Zealand Fashion Week in August.

Nine of the undergrads - each winners of Prime Minister's Scholarships for Asia - also left for India yesterday on a six-week educational exchange trip to show a collection of silk saris they have created.

The Resene-coloured garments are made by families of weavers working with ancient looms in their homes in the southern Indian sari village of Doddampalayam, near the city of Coimbatore.

The Kiwi students will recreate their garments for a grande finale fashion show in India next month, hosted by the Bannari Amman Institute of Technology.


"The experience is so immense and empowering for these young people," said Val Marshall-Smith, director of NZ Fashion Tech.

"We are certain it will enhance their careers and their lives in many different ways."

Some of the sari patterns - which feature distinctive colours inspired by Resene Paint's summer palette - will then go on to be among those on the runway at the annual Fashion Week in Auckland.

One of the students chosen for both events, Fiona Chi, 20, from St Johns in Auckland, likes to wear designer clothes that are "really straight lines giving a tailored look, always in black or white".

But she said "colour has a lot of emotion" so she welcomed the challenge of designing a silk work of fashion in bright orange.

Jordan Noah, 23, from St Heliers, Auckland, is no stranger to glamorous garments in vibrant colours. Her sari design was inspired by the Resene paint colour Grasshopper.

Rawi Rangi, 20, from Glen Innes, Auckland, chose Resene's Leap Year colour for her sari.

"The meaning of leap year to me is you are given an extra chance to go out and explore or go on a journey that is boundless," she said. "My colour brings a sense of curiosity and a will to explore."