Eleven-year-old girl will be the youngest designer at the New Zealand Fashion Week

Jayda Fairweather-Ponga's design is a bodysuit with tulle skirt, inspired by a phoenix.
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Jayda Fairweather-Ponga's design is a bodysuit with tulle skirt, inspired by a phoenix.

Jayda Fairweather-Ponga may be New Zealand's youngest fashionista.

The 11-year-old Wellingtonian has won the junior fashion grade in the Brother Fashion Design Stars competition and will be the youngest designer at New Zealand Fashion Week.

She had wanted to enter the competition last year, when she was in year six, but was too young.

"It's basically like rising up in its flame, burning and being reborn," Jayda says.
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"It's basically like rising up in its flame, burning and being reborn," Jayda says.

"I really wanted to join it, but when I found out I was too young I was waiting till next year," she says.

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A model in Jayda's winning design. The 11-year-old Raroa Intermediate student will be flown up to Auckland for NZ ...
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A model in Jayda's winning design. The 11-year-old Raroa Intermediate student will be flown up to Auckland for NZ Fashion Week to see her creation on the runway.

"I've never entered a competition and I wanted to see how this would go, and I thought it would be a new opportunity and it would be interesting."

Her design, a body suit and hand-dyed tulle skirt, was inspired by a phoenix.

"I came up with the idea of using a mythical bird, the phoenix. It's basically like rising up in its flame, burning and being reborn. The colours pop up and they really do steal the show."

The Raroa Intermediate student, who describes her style as casual, colourful and occasionally wacky, says fashion has been her "thing" since she was little.

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"Fashion is my passion. I love it. I like that it's unique and you can be different. You can just be yourself.

"I wanted to be a model and then I thought about how I could design my own cool stuff."

She says she never expected to win the competition, which will see her flown to Fashion Week to see her design on the runway in the Graduate Show on August 30.

"I'm going to feel so proud of myself, that I put a lot of effort into it and that I can show everyone my creation."

It will be her first time at the event – and on a plane – and she plans to make the most of it.

"I do want to see some fashion designers and I actually want to meet them and hear about what type of fashion they do, and maybe what inspired them to be a fashion designer, and to see other people's creations and maybe get inspired for next year's competition."

She says the Brother competition is worth a go for all budding designers: "It's a really fun experience and it's a really good thing to try out and progress with."

 - Stuff

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