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Winning Designer Inspired By Maori Heritage

July 4, 2017

Napier-based designer Misty Ratima is to showcase a collection of her garments at New Zealand Fashion week after being named the supreme winner of the indigenous Māori design competition Miromoda.

Misty was invited to enter garments in the nationwide competition for Māori fashion designers staged at Pātaka Art + Museum in Porirua at the weekend.  (SUBS:  24 JUNE)

Her win now takes her to New Zealand Fashion Week, where she will showcase eight looks in front of an 800-plus audience. 

Anticipating her success, she has already completed her collection for the biggest event in this country’s sartorial calendar, to be held in Auckland from 28 August to 3 September.

“It’s been seven years in the making,” Misty says of her success at Miromoda. “I watched the 2010 show and wanted to design Māori fashion.  I was living in Auckland at that time and returned to Hawke’s Bay.

“Since then I’ve been on a learning journey at EIT, studying te reo Māori and Māoritanga, fashion design and visual arts and design.  When I complete my second degree at the end of the year, I hope to launch my own fashion label called Te Kohu.” 

Misty has previous form as a talented designer.

She was a star achiever in the 2014 Hokonui Fashion Awards, which she and her classmates entered as final-year Certificate of Fashion Apparel students at EIT. 

Misty won the national competition’s Auaha Special Award – an open category celebrating innovation and creativity – with a steep-collared jacket and dress featuring diamond shapes symbolising the Seven Stars of Matariki or Pleiades cluster of stars.

Building on that concept, her Miromoda collection is called Matariki Ahunga Nui, which refers to the harvesting of food such as kῡmara and celebrates unity, hospitality, whānau and sharing.

Miromoda winner Misty Ratima with her fashion designs. Photograph by Masanori Udagawa.

A significant focus for Misty’s design is her Māori culture – she is a descendant of Ngāti Kahungunu, Rongomaiwahine, Rongowhakaata and Ngāti Hine.

She likes to use block colours, imagery and embroidery in her designs and the concepts are a means of communicating her cultural background in a contemporary way. 

After her 17-year stint in Auckland, Misty gained a Bachelor of Arts (Māori) from EIT’s Te Ūranga Waka before going on to study the two-year fashion design certificate. 

Continuing at EIT, she is a final-year Bachelor of Visual Arts and Design student at ideaschool while also tutoring night classes for the Certificate in Māori Studies.

“It’s been a long time coming,” she says of her career path.  “Where I establish my business will depend on my whānau and networks – it will be where it’s most favourable to support my business and mix with other creatives.”