Misty Ratima and Wenerei Thompson are talented designers building fashion careers grounded in their learning at EIT.
As the supreme winner of the indigenous Māori design competition Miromoda, Misty was invited to take part in this year’s New Zealand Fashion Week, showcasing eight looks to an 800-plus audience.
“It’s been seven years in the making,” she says of her success at Miromoda. “I watched the 2010 show and wanted to design Māori fashion.”
With this in mind, she gained a Bachelor of Arts (Māori) through EIT’s Te Ūranga Waka, proceeded to the two-year Certificate of Fashion Apparel and, with some crosscredits, will soon complete her Bachelor of Visual Arts and Design.
Misty was a star achiever in the 2014 Hokonui Fashion Awards, which she and her classmates entered as final-year fashion apparel students at EIT. With a design that drew on her Māori heritage, she won the national competition’s Auaha special award – an open category celebrating innovation and creativity.
Her plan is to launch her own fashion design business when she finishes her EIT studies later
Studying the New Zealand Diploma in Fashion at EIT Tairāwhiti, Wenerei is keen to grow his business, BattlePhunk Clothing Co.
Wenerei began building his venture last year using graphic designs and selling his clothes by word-of-mouth. He also had his friends in the hip-hop and drilling industries wear his designs.
Having developed a business plan and, feeling he needed some formal education to take BattlePhunk to the next level, he enrolled at EIT.
The high school dropout now feels on track with his career.
“I have been homeless and I have been to the bottom, and it is encouraging now to be in such an inspiring place,” he says of EIT Tairāwhiti. “Here I am at 29, back in school and studying fashion.”