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EIT fashion students gain national recognition

August 23, 2022

EIT Bachelor of Creative Practice (Fashion) students Joanne Beswick (left), Ashford Thompson and Alice Tasker received Open Merit Awards at the 2022 MLT Hokonui Fashion Design Awards.

Three EIT Bachelor of Creative Practice (Fashion) students have walked away with merit awards at the 2022 MLT Hokonui Fashion Design Awards.

Ashford Thompson (Ngāti Kahungunu) and Alice Tasker, both in their final year of the three-year Bachelor of Creative Practice, received Open Merit Awards in the glamour and daywear categories respectively.

Second-year student Joanne Beswick also received an Open Merit Award for her three-piece garment in the menswear category.

New Zealand’s top awards for amateur fashion designers, now in its 33rd year, were held in Gore at the end of July. It is widely regarded as the event where young designers showcase their talents.

EIT IDEAschool Fashion Leader Cheryl Downie says the students have exceeded their expectations.

“We are particularly proud of what students have managed to achieve because to get any sort of recognition is outstanding.”

Eleven students from EIT entered the awards. Ashford plans to launch his clothing line Thompson Thompson Clothing once he graduates, and says the award is encouragement that he is going in the right direction.

“It’s nice to know that people see value in what I create, and my ideas, process, and approach. And it is nice to think that my work is relevant.”

The recognition comes off the back of his highly commended award last year. This year, he entered a dress and necktie he created as part of a six-piece collection inspired by rubbish.

He credits EIT with providing him with the skills needed to make a successful career in the fashion industry.

“I’ve really developed skills that I know that I can use in my business. So, it is really nice the tutors let you choose what areas you want to develop so that you can be successful.”

At 20-years-old, Alice is the youngest of the three EIT students to be recognised at this year’s awards.

“It definitely is a confidence boost knowing that my work is good enough to be recognised by the judges. It definitely makes me feel better going into the industry, knowing that my work is up to that standard,” Alice says.

She created a singlet, skirt and jacket. “I wanted to go out of my comfort zone and use new techniques that I have never done before, so I quilted the fabric myself.”

Studying at EIT has broadened her scope and given her skills she says she never thought were possible. She hopes to gain industry experience upon graduating. 

Joanne says the recognition cements her decision to leave the hospitality industry at 25 and follow her interest in fashion.

“It means quite a lot. When I found out I was almost crying because I just didn’t expect to get anything. It’s pretty exciting.”

For her, fashion is in the blood. “My nana worked in a sewing factory for a long time and my mum is a sewer.”

While she is more interested in womenswear, she stepped out of her comfort zone and created a three-piece menswear outfit inspired by late American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat.

A rain jacket is paired with the streetwear style of the top and pants.

“I decided to go for red because it is one of the colours that stood out for me in his art, and I then screen printed a design on the lining of the jacket.”

While she is unsure of what the future holds, the 27-year-old is set on entering again next year.