Big break for young fashion designer
Life is "pretty unreal" for Renuka Malik at the moment.
The 20-year-old has designed her way into working for industry heavyweights Annah Stretton and NOM*d - and bagged herself a spot at New Zealand Fashion Week.
The Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology fashion and design student won an excellence award at the Hokonui Fashion Design Awards in Gore at the weekend.
As a result, she received the "most awesome prize package ever" which includes free registration and accommodation for New Zealand Fashion Week in September and work experience with Kiwi fashionista Annah Stretton.
When Press photographer Iain McGregor visited Malik she received a phone call from NOM*d founder Margi Robertson giving her the opportunity to do work experience at the label's Dunedin fashion house.
"I just couldn't believe it to be honest. Margi rang me personally . . . she was one of the judges at [Hokonui] but I never expected to get an opportunity like this," Malik said.
For someone who has wanted to work in the fashion industry since she was "old enough to hold a pencil" work experience at NOM*d is "just completely crazy".
"The last few days have been surreal. I really wasn't expecting to win at Hokonui and when one of the girls from my course rang and told me, I just couldn't believe it."
Malik's winning garment was a navy long-sleeved dress with a fitted bodice and floor-length skirt. It was the first competition she had entered.
Malik hoped to one day have her own fashion label but was happy to "learn as much as possible for now".
"This is what I've always wanted to do and I'm loving it so I'll just keep going."