Hokonui Fashion and Design Awards judges from left, Kathryn Wilson, designer and founder of Kathryn Wilson Footwear, James Dobson, designer and founder of Jimmy D, and Sara-Jane Duff, designer and owner of Lost and Led Astray, judging garments in the schools' streetwear section, in Gore on Thursday.

Robyn Edie/Stuff

Hokonui Fashion and Design Awards judges from left, Kathryn Wilson, designer and founder of Kathryn Wilson Footwear, James Dobson, designer and founder of Jimmy D, and Sara-Jane Duff, designer and owner of Lost and Led Astray, judging garments in the schools’ streetwear section, in Gore on Thursday.

“Cool.” “Snazzy.’’ “Mmmm.’’ “Jazzy.” “Wow.’’

If first impressions count then entries at this year’s Hokonui Fashion Design Awards have been a hit with the judges, who got to cast their eyes over them for the first time on Thursday.

Auckland-based designers Kathryn Wilson, designer and founder of Kathryn Wilson Footwear, James Dobson, designer and founder of Jimmy D, and Sara-Jane Duff, designer and owner of Lost and Led Astray, spent the morning looking at the schools’ streetwear entries, and all said they were impressed with what they saw.

”There’s some really amazing young talent and the quality of the entries is really high. There’s some incredible sewers,’’ Duff said.

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Models clad in all manner of materials were screened from view and walked to stand in front of the judges, one at a time, for the garments they were wearing to be judged.

Dobson said it was quite exciting because the judges got to feel like they were in the audience at the show, and they never knew what the models were going to walk around the corner wearing.

In some cases, they wanted to touch the fabrics, asked questions about linings and how the garments felt to wear, or made suggestions about how the entries could be worn to the best effect on the catwalk.

Dobson said having a year off last year because of the Covid-19 pandemic might have had a positive impact on entrants.

”There’s a lot of energy in the entries. I’ve been in this industry a long time, and I’m seeing things I have never seen before.’’

Hokonui Fashion and Design Awards judging of the garments in the schools section, in Gore on Thursday, pictured model Laura Horton, 18, of Invercargill, left, and wardrobe assistant Barbara Ramsay.

Robyn Edie/Stuff

Hokonui Fashion and Design Awards judging of the garments in the schools section, in Gore on Thursday, pictured model Laura Horton, 18, of Invercargill, left, and wardrobe assistant Barbara Ramsay.

Wilson said the awards, now in their 32nd year, remained important for young designers, Wilson said.

”They are definitely recognised as being a stand-out – to have an entry placed here can set a designer up for the next stage of their career and helps them to be picked up at tertiary level,’’ she said.

“There are definitely some designers here that will have a place in the industry, they have some very strong ideas.’’

The awards have run since 1988 and have allowed amateur fashion designers to showcase their designs in front of well-regarded industry leaders.

In previous years the judging panel has included Karen Walker, Nic Blanchet, Francis Hooper, Trelise Cooper, Kate Sylvester, Liz Findlay, Doris Du Pont and Margi Robertson of NOM*d.



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