While many students forget about their assignments as soon as they have handed them in, four students from Kāpiti College are taking their designs from an NCEA assignment to the next level and becoming young entrepreneurs at the same time.
As part of a level 2 NCEA design and photography assessment last year, Tommy Morum-Kelly, Liam Sayer, Vincent Gray, and Jack Plummer designed their own brands, each with unique inspiration.
Inspired by the likes of the outdoors, music and gaming, the students created unique designs each reflecting their interests, and this year production has taken off with the students putting their designs onto clothing and starting production lines.
Turning their concepts into a reality, the students have started selling to their fellow students and staff at Kāpiti College, with one student, Tommy Morum-Kelly also being asked to create some mock-up designs for crew on the Avatar set in Wellington.
"There are thousands of kids who take design and photography every year in New Zealand, but not many who have the drive and initiative to create their own brand, and the confidence to produce, wear and sell their own designs," said Kāpiti College teacher Fairlie Atkinson.
Tommy's brand focuses on high-quality sustainable clothing with a modern, industrial, sleek fashion-focused style.
"The inspiration for my designs came when I went on a trip to the South Island and involved myself in outdoor travel which included travelling mountain ranges and exploring street culture in the South Island."
His slogan "Made from the mountains, for the streets" reflects his desire to make something that would work on a casual streetwear level but also involve the aesthetic of mountain and outdoor exploration.
"Going from school-related design to actually selling and physically producing clothing was definitely an interesting and a busy experience that taught me a lot."
Talking with a close contact who was working on the set of Avatar, Tommy was given the opportunity to create some mock-up designs to pitch to the crew's merchandise team.
"I took some of my current designs and edited them up for presentation and they complimented the ideas and told me they really enjoyed the designs, but unfortunately copyright problems with Disney and their advertising wouldn't allow a separate company to collaborate with the production of Avatar.
"It was a great experience on its own - mocking up collaboration pieces for the possibility of crew merchandise, but sometimes not everything falls into place, that's something I'm definitely starting to learn."
Liam Sayer has created designs to promote his gaming/streaming brand, Distorted vZn and has started selling hoodies to his friends and teachers.
"I stream under the username Distorted vZn so I thought it would be a good idea to create some clothing to target towards my viewers and followers on Instagram and twitch," Liam said.
"It's a pretty complicated thing trying to get them printed because you can never be 100 per cent sure how they turn out, but with all my prints I've always been happy with how they come out."
Jack Plummer began to make music this year and has started creating merchandise to promote his music brand, Cyberboy Jack.
He has designed a range of colourful and unique t-shirts that reflect his style of music.
"My music is alternative/cloud rap with a bit of an emo influence," Jack said.
"Through creating and releasing music I developed contacts with other artists and started making album covers for their music.
"Many of the designs also looked good on T-shirts so I have recently started exploring this."
His plan is to develop an online store linked to his website, www.cyberboyjack.co.nz, in the next few months to showcase some of the designs.
"I have always enjoyed creativity and fashion, so I am considering how to take this further in the future."
This could mean studying at Yoobee next year to develop his design and photography skills.
Vincent Gray has also begun to print and wear the designs from his projects in class and has come up with some great alternative designs which are proving popular.
He too will soon begin to offer his T-shirt designs for sale.
"These young men have used the skills they learnt in design and photography and become entrepreneurs - designing, branding, and photographing their merchandise," Fairlie said.
"It's something a bit extraordinary."