Diving into fashion's forefront

EXCITING TIME:  New Plymouth’s Sam O’Reilly has been selected to show her collection in the 2013 iD Dunedin Fashion Show.  Amy-Rose Beale models a creation.
EXCITING TIME: New Plymouth’s Sam O’Reilly has been selected to show her collection in the 2013 iD Dunedin Fashion Show. Amy-Rose Beale models a creation.

New Plymouth fashion graduate Sam O'Reilly has been selected to show her collection in the 2013 iD Dunedin Fashion Show.

The former Sacred Heart Girls' College student, 23, is one of five graduates from Otago Polytechnic School of Design selected from a field of 25 at the Collections 12 runway show in Dunedin.

She raised $2500 to fund her collection "Automaton" through the website pledgeme.co.nz - a crowd-funding site designed to support creative projects.

The materials she used - which included neoprene, wool, silk and leather hide - did not come cheap and she was thankful for the donations.

"I wouldn't have been able to do it without it," she said.

Ms O'Reilly's resourceful attitude meant not a scrap of fabric went to waste.

"I wanted to give back to the people that donated, so I've made iPad cases and clutches out of the wetsuit material [neoprene]."

Automaton included 11 garments and was inspired by the film and book The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick.

Her "weird" fabric choices such as wool and neoprene were inspired by the main character's quest to rebuild a mechanical man, the Automaton, using stolen and begged-for materials.

"The book inspired me deeply with the importance of dreaming and achieving, focusing on elements of fantasy and unexpected results."

The garments also feature digital printing of drawings, the result of a collaboration with fine arts student Georgia Glass.

She was excited about seeing her collection paraded on the longest catwalk in the southern hemisphere.

"It's a massive opportunity.

"The first show was quite scary, 800 people watching, but this one will be much more exciting.

"I've put my toe in the water, now I can jump in."

Ms O'Reilly said it was tough to make it as a successful fashion designer in New Zealand and wanted to celebrate people who got there.

"I'll hopefully get into magazines, finding beautiful things for people rather than making them."

After a year filled with 16-hour days, Ms O'Reilly said she was looking forward to her move to Brisbane next week for a break.

Taranaki Daily News