Surprise for designer

Former Southland fashion designer Jojo Ross featured in the September Issue of Vogue Italia but only found out about the spread this month.
Former Southland fashion designer Jojo Ross featured in the September Issue of Vogue Italia but only found out about the spread this month.

Thousands of readers have seen Jojo Ross' work in Vogue during the past month but the fashion designer was unaware she featured in the magazine until earlier this week.

The former Southland designer was profiled in the September issue of Vogue Italia but did not realise she had appeared in the leading fashion publication until a month after it hit news-stands.

''(The issue) came out like a month ago but we didn't hear anything about it,'' Miss Ross said.

Otago Polytechnic fashion academic leader Margo Barton submitted the work of ten graduate fashion students, including Ross, to the magazine earlier in the year but no one knew whether any had made the final print.

However, Miss Ross started getting suspicious when a mysterious email appeared in her inbox.

''It was in capital letters ... from Italian Vogue, and all it said was 'do not reply to this email we are just checking it works'. Then I had emails from models who were all like, 'hi, my name is blah blah and I'm based in Milan'.

''I was like, 'what's going on?'. It's been quite random.''
An Otago Polytechnic staff member managed to track down a copy while travelling in Europe and finally confirmed the good news - her designs had made it into Vogue Italia.

Miss Ross still has not seen the magazine. ''I think Mum's ordered a copy so hopefully I'll see it soon. It's kind of surreal, actually.''

The magazine profile featured work from her graduate collection, futuristic designs based on the quantum string theory, which she showed at ID Dunedin Fashion Week and the Hokonui Fashion Design Awards this year.

Now based in Auckland, Miss Ross is preparing her portfolio in the hope of landing a job in the work room of a big name label, such as Zambesi - something she admitted would be a little easier now she had Italian Vogue on her CV.

She eventually hoped to design stage costumes for theatrical music artists ''but not Lady Gaga - she's boring".

Miss Ross said it would be "really good to be able to design for these sorts of people and have no limits on creativity or wearability ... You can't really do that in New Zealand fashion.''

In the meantime, she is working to get her designs selected in the Australian Graduate Fashion Week in November.

As for her fashion advice to Southlanders, she said people in the region should dare to be different.

''Just be happy to have your own style. Don't shy away from getting dressed in the morning.''

Southland designer Roxanna Zamani also featured in Vogue Italia in 2010.


We hit the streets of Invercargill to find out what the public thinks about fashion. Here are a few of their best tips for dressing smart in Southland.

Arnika Thompson, 14, Invercargill (pictured above, top row, left): Arnika suggested drop tails - shirts with long tails at the back - for day wear. ''They keep your bum warm.''

Bonnie Frewen, 20, Invercargill (centre): ''Just don't be afraid to wear what you want because everyone's so conservative here.''

Lisa Thompson, 19, Invercargill (right): ''Dress appropriately because the weather always changes.''

Lindsay Larson, 55, Athol (bottom row, left): Lindsay's top tip is to wear ''whatever you throw on'', and to turn on the lights. ''Don't get dressed in the dark.''

Elejah Russell, 13, Invercargill (centre): ''Label clothing's the best way to go.''

Zivana Taylor, 14, Invercargill (right): Zivana perhaps gave the most useful tip for Southlanders - make sure you wear ''something warm''.

The Southland Times