Whanganui fashion designer Stephanie West's exhibition Escapology at the Community Arts Centre is testimony to her inventiveness.

The UCOL Art and Design lecturer has just completed her masters degree in Art and Design through Auckland University of Technology and the collection is the result of her work in transcending boundaries for flat pattern making. She believes fashion can be made more sustainable if garments are designed with flexibility and used for more than one season.

With a focus on minimal waste, the garments have been designed and made with pattern making methods that combine both draping and geometric shapes.

Ms West said one of the drivers behind completing her masters was to explore sustainable practices within the fashion industry.


"The rate at which we produce and consume clothes is no longer sustainable and it is important for research to be undertaken to find new ways that are.

"My research began through questioning my own practice in garment creation and the desire to investigate new and, in some cases, old possibilities within this area of creative garment cutting."

Many of the garments in the collection can be worn a number of different ways and they will not look dated next season.

"The amount of fabric in them means that they can be re-made in to different garments or easily mended as well.

Ms West said her students were another motivator for completing her study.
"Any learning I do further develops my personal practice and critical thinking, which flows through into the classroom and benefits my students," she said.
Ms West has worked with Auckland designer Jane Yeh and in the design room for Pacific Brands as well as a costume designer for theatre and film.

Her passion has also lead her to volunteer overseas, teaching sewing to teenage girls in Mozambique and helping with product design for a business in Kolkata, India, which provides employment to at risk women.

The designer said she is inspired by Yohji Yamamoto and other modern Japanese designers who work sustainably.
Escapology is on display in the Community Arts Centre Gallery, 19 Taupo Quay from 10am until 4pm today and 10am until 1pm on Saturday.