Child's passion for fashion wows judges

02:19, Jul 18 2013
Torenzo entry
INSPIRED: Nelson seven-year-old Torenzo Monopoli's winning entry in the Avant Garde school section of the Hokonui Fashion Design Awards.

A 7-year-old Nelson schoolboy has amazed fashionistas with the avant garde dress he designed, scooping an award.

Torenzo Monopoli, who is autistic, won the avant garde award in the school section at the Hokonui Fashion Design Awards in Gore at the weekend, before a crowd of 700.

His pink and purple creation was among eight finalists from primary and secondary school pupils in the Hokonui Fashion Design Awards, which offer a platform for all amateur designers to display their designs before a panel of high-profile judges.

PASSION FOR FASHION: Torenzo Monopoli, 7, with some of his designs for the Hokonui Fashion Design Awards.

Torenzo's latest win could be just the start for the budding designer who dreams of becoming a world famous fashion designer.

Last night his father Jason said on Facebook: "Put Torenzo to bed and congratulated him once again on an awesome win . . . but I didn't win ALL the sections dad . . . guess we'll be back!"

Torenzo's fashion flair has caused heads to turn since he was 5 years old.


Initially, it bewildered his parents Jennifer and Jason, a former motorbike designer, but they have supported their son who churns out drawings of colourful burlesque-themed dresses.

He has also been spotted by designer Annah Stretton. Torenzo flew to Auckland in February to meet her and began crafting his latest creation after the surprise day was organised by Kids Pursuing Hope founder Leah Evans.

He also took out the Nelson Nouveau Design Awards' under-10 category last year.

His parents say their boy never drew animals or houses, "just people with clothes", especially women's dresses often featuring feathers and bright colours.

"We never envisaged Torenzo being interested in fashion design," Mr Monopoli said in June.

There were more than 300 entries in the Hokonui Fashion Design Awards this year.