Farmer to judge design awards

LOUISE BERWICK
Last updated 11:20 18/07/2013
Warwick Woodfield
LOUISE BERWICK/Fairfax NZ

Warwick Woodfield

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Warwick Woodfield could tell you an awful lot about farming, but that is probably not going to come in handy when he is judging the Hokonui Fashion Design Awards.

Woodfield turned his back his farming career decades ago after his ex-wife threw his gumboots in the ocean and the couple moved to Sydney.

That move was the start of a successful career, one that has seen him work for brands such as Country Road and open a manufacturing business in Christchurch before finally settling in Invercargill and setting up his Dee St business, which goes by his name.

Now the Invercargill designer is going to be judging some of the country's top up-and-coming designers.

He has been named as one of the five judges for the Hokonui Fashion Design Awards in Gore being held next weekend, July 26 and 27 -  and it will be the father-of-three's first time as a judge.

The designer said it was ''really nice'' to be chosen to judge the awards along with top names like such asnte Liz Findlay of Zambesi, Margi Robertson of Nom*D, Denis L'Estange of the WORLD label and local steampunk expert Jim Geddes.

''It's a huge honour to be asked, it's really cool that I am there.''

The designer, who did a tutoring stint at the Southern Institute of Technology, said seeing the aspiring designers was going to be the most rewarding part.

The event would act as a springboard for some of the entrants, helping them break into an industry that was notoriously hard to crack, he said.

''It's a huge event, probably one of the longest running events for young designers and there's huge opportunities for those who have been there.''

His only advice for young designers was enter as many awards as you can and try your hardest to win them.

''If you can design, it's in you. You can only teach some how to find it.''

And Woodfield is worth listening to. He's been through the good times and the bad times, felt the affects of the recession, lost everything in one business and finally set up a successful one.

It hasn't been easy  but that has made him into a well known and successful designer, who has a real soft spot for some of the industry's emerging talent who will showcase their work in Gore next weekend.

''I ended up in the industry. I didn't dream about being a designer, so when you see young ones with the passion that I didn't have, it's great,'' he said.

''I think they have a lot more passion for the industry than I have got.''

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- The Southland Times

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