Life in style ahead

01:08, Sep 02 2014

Jodi Walker knows the fashion industry is a tough one to get in to, so she is making sure she puts herself forward at every opportunity. Carly Thomas speaks to Jodi about her latest project. 

She's not sure exactly how she will get there, but Jodi Walker is determined to be in Auckland for the Newmarket Design Awards.

Determined pretty much sums up the 16-year-old Feilding High School student, who is creatively driven and loves fashion. "It is my thing. Mum taught me to sew when I was 9 and I started making clothes for my dolls."

She recently qualified for the Auckland-based national fashion design competition.

"I had to research a designer and come up with some sketches and ideas using similar techniques that they used. I chose Fortuny, a Spanish/Italian designer of the Edwardian era."

Jodi says she didn't really expect to get through to the next stage, which was to make the dress, and she spent the next few weeks tirelessly working on it. Jodi's mum Karyn Walker says there were a few stressful moments and late nights.


"My design is a long evening dress using some aspects of Fortuny's designs and putting it into my own style. It had a lot of pleating, which was really hard and something I hadn't done before. The different weights of the fabrics was hard as well."

Jodi says she gained invaluable skills from her neighbour, dressmaker Demelza Davidson.

"I am so grateful to her for teaching me some new techniques. Some of the skills she taught me, I would not have learnt at school."

Jodi studies textiles at school. One of the main reasons she chose Feilding High School was because of its annual Evento wearable art awards.

"I have been involved in Evento since year 9 and I have always seen it as a huge opportunity. The standard has gotten better over the years. This year I did it as part of my assessment for school."

Jodi designed a costume for the Lore category, based on Celtic mythology. Her creation, Cervos Branco, came second.

"I started the design process in April and I only just got it finished in time. There was so much work involved. I did a lot of research, that's something I really enjoy."

Jodi's 2012 entry, Curiosity Killed the Cat, won the Wonderland section and the innovative use of textiles award. Last year's entry, Four Squared, won the Pop Art section and a BNZ scholarship. Jodi says the scholarship money may get her and her mum to Auckland.

"We are not financially well-off, but I know that Mum supports what I do and she will find a way."

The Newmarket Design Awards junior section prize is a week's internship at New Zealand fashion store Ruby.

"There is a people's choice award as well, which people can vote for on Facebook. The winner of that gets a day's hands on at Remix Magazine. That would be amazing."

Manawatu Standard