Recipients of top awards at showcase event eager to take next step in design career.

An eye for fashion and a touch of their own creativity has earned three students top accolades in Auckland.

Now the trio are looking out into the fashion world in the hopes of making their own mark on the international runway.

NZ Fashion Tech students Samantha-Jane Gilliver, Fiona Chi and Rawi Rangi received the top awards at this year's diploma runway showcase event in Auckland.

Gilliver received this year's Auckland Technical Excellence Award, Chi was named the Auckland all-round Excellence recipient, while Rangi took home the Auckland Most Commercial Collection Award.

Samantha-Jane Gilliver (centre) won for technical excellence.
Samantha-Jane Gilliver (centre) won for technical excellence.

Gilliver, 28, said her love for fashion started when she failed to find anything she really liked in the shops.

"I've always loved shopping - but then I've never found what I wanted. So I guess my want for more clothes and creativity kind of came to play then.

"I enjoy the way clothing makes people feel. You can dress up as a character or dress up for your mood, your feeling or your personality. You can use it to portray whatever it is you're trying to portray."

Gilliver, of Orewa, is in the process of finding a job in the local fashion industry as she continues to work towards her ultimate dream.

"I would love to have [my] own fashion label and see my work go down the runway - that would be amazing."

Chi's final collection this year was named Confidence.

The 21-year-old, who grew up in Auckland but whose family is from Taiwan, said her creations were motivated by the want to make women feel good about themselves.

"I feel like what I design - I want women to feel really confident in what they wear. That's what I try to go for.


"I felt like if I wore something that I liked - not necessarily what was on trend - I felt really confident about myself and I thought that was really important for a woman."

Rangi, 20, said her Samoan and Maori roots helped her to create a culturally inspired series of garments for the runway earlier this year.

In her final collection, she wanted to surprise people, so decided to create a contemporary look that included black mesh and mustard-coloured works.

"Mine was based on exceeding expectations - just doing something out of the norm.

 Fiona Chi (centre) won for overall excellence.
Fiona Chi (centre) won for overall excellence.

"I just wanted people to think: 'Oh, you're doing something different and that's cool'."

Born and raised in Glen Innes, she said her upbringing was a big motivator for her to do well.

"It's just for people to see that anyone from Glen Innes can do what they want because I think people in G.I. just give up."

She hopes to find work doing fashion illustrations and will continue to show off and sell her garments via social media sites Instagram and Facebook.