WOW, dream work gets in
Riwaka mum's designs make Wellington finalsHELEN MURDOCH
A decade of dreaming has become a reality for Kerrie Williams who has had two garments selected for the Tourism New Zealand Avante Garde Section of the Brancott Estate World of WearableArt Awards.
The Riwaka mother has been dancing around her lounge in excitment since she heard last month that her garments ‘‘Jailbird’’ and ‘‘Beyond Beleaf!’’ had been accepted as finalists.
Motueka’s Sabine Bender’s ‘‘Boulder Bank’’ has also been selected in the award’s Bizarre Bra section.
Ms Williams said she first thought of the design and technique for her ‘‘Beyond Beleaf!’’ garment while she was still at Motueka High School 10 years ago. But she knew she did not have the skills or knowledge at that stage to complete the work to a high enough standard to be competitive.
She has worried every year that another WOW designer would think of her idea which was inspired by autumn leaves and their beautiful colours.
‘‘Jailbird’’ was born from the people around her who had inspired her and helped her get through difficult patches in her life.
After a stint working overseas in basic jobs Ms Williams returned to New Zealand to follow her passion for fashion, enrolling in Christchurch’s New Zealand Design and Arts College where she achieved honours and student of the year when she completed an Advanced Diploma in Fashion Design in 2010.
‘‘I went overseas after school but wanted to do a job I enjoyed getting up for.’’
Ms Williams said the course was crammed into seven months and made harder by her unexpected pregnancy with her son JJ. But her passion for design saw her putting in huge hours to achieve her goal. She moved back to her family’s Riwaka home just before the September 2010 earthquake and has since filled a room in the classic house with fabric, drawings and sewing.
Ms Williams said the last year had been hectic. Secure in her newly gained knowledge and skills, she had started working on her ‘‘Beyond Beleaf’’ garment early last year while also considering a piece for this year’s Hokonui Fashion Design Awards.
However support from friends saw her decide the Hokonui piece would be a second WOW entry.
She entered the pieces in June and found out her work had been accepted on July 17.
‘‘To get them both accepted is unbelievable – crazy. But without people encouraging me I wouldn’t have entered.’’
Ms Williams said her ‘‘punky-Gothic’’ design style was inspired by her life and by nature.
‘‘I could not have got this far without the people who have been involved in my life.’’
The Wellington-based awards run for a week from late September. Ms Williams said she would attend the awards’ preview and finals night with a ‘‘small entourage’’. Winning would be out of this world, she said.
‘‘After all the Queen’s saddler won last year – but I feel so happy just to have been accepted.’’
However, having JJ had changed her focus on life and Ms Williams was also developing her edgy young baby fashion line Nevershy’ of colourful individual tops, pants and dresses she planned to launch soon.
She said she had to thank those people who believed in her, those who invested their time in her and had helped her in her journey.
Ms Williams’ works are among 164 garments selected as finalists for the WOW awards.
Competitive director Heather Palmer said the garments were all of exceptionally high standard and design and provide a mix of fresh ideas, edginess and sensitivity and innovative approaches to themes.
More than 100 garments came from New Zealand designers, with 14 from the Nelson-Tasman region.
- © Fairfax NZ News