Two budding Kiwi designers are set to take an international fashion competition by storm with a collection of clothes made from items fished from rubbish bins.

Olivia Balle and Kristen Meaclem, both aged 22, raked through trash cans at Massey University in Wellington to find fabric for their handiwork. They also used chip bags, soft drinks cans and some old fishing tackle to enhance their creations.

The pair are among seven New Zealanders in the final of the prestigious iD International Emerging Designer Awards being staged in Dunedin next month.

Balle and Meaclem have called their collection Trish - derived from trash and fish. The pair said they set out to prove beautiful and unique clothing can be made out of garbage.


"Our unique pattern cutting and textile development enabled us to create Trish from one hundred per cent post consumer waste."

Thirty-six emerging designers from around the globe have been chosen as finalists for the 13th annual awards, supported by the Otago Polytechnic.

The finalists, selected from a pool of around 150 entries from 18 countries, will present their collections on March 23.

This year's selection committee, made up of Kiwi fashion designers Tanya Carlson and Sara Munro (Company of Strangers), alongside fashion editor Dan Ahwa, were impressed by the quality of entries coming from the world's top fashion schools - and the graduates' dedication to the ethos of slow fashion and sustainability.

"These are fashion graduates who believe in making a difference within the industry," Carlson said. "Almost every entry explored the importance of the slow fashion movement - but in very different ways.

"It's inspiring to see. The finalists we chose all stood out for their innovation and exceptional creativity."

The other Kiwi finalists are Phillip von Fury from Auckland University of Technology, Tess Norquay and Megan Stewart from Massey University and Cecily Reed, Letitia Powell and Laura Bennett from Otago Polytechnic.