Foam and fan­tasy on the run­way

The Hutt News - - FRONT PAGE - ELEANOR WEN­MAN

It was a proud mo­ment as 18-yearold Nina Kai­wai watched her cre­ation on the run­way over the week­end.

The Wainuiomata High School stu­dent has al­ways been cre­ative - she had her first easel by age one - and now her Mother Na­turein­spired cos­tume has been shown off at New Zealand Fash­ion Week.

‘‘I never thought I would be able to get this far into fash­ion so early,’’ she said.

She started de­sign­ing out­fits in 2014, when she be­gan cos­play­ing, cre­at­ing out­fits based on fic­tional char­ac­ters.

The 18-year-old hated sewing when she first started and said tex­tiles was ‘‘not her favourite topic at school’’. In­stead of pick­ing up nee­dle and thread, she would of­ten use EVA (Ethylenevinyl ac­etate) foam.

‘‘It’s like what yoga mats are made of,’’ she said.

The foam is moulded with heat and can be used to make any­thing, from ar­mour to the braces in her New Zealand Fash­ion Week cos­tume. By carv­ing into the ma­te­rial she can recre­ate dif­fer­ent tex­tures and add a layer of re­al­ity to her cos­tumes.

For her Fash­ion Week de­sign, she also hand made ev­ery leaf on the out­fit’s veil, tak­ing her roughly 120 hours.

‘‘I went a bit crazy­ish,’’ she said.

Her de­sign orig­i­nally started out as a school project but her teacher, Jo­ce­lyn Reddy, saw en­tries for a young de­signer fash­ion show, Walk the Line, on a Home Eco­nom­ics Teacher fo­rum. It is for de­sign­ers aged be­tween 13 and 18.

Kai­wai en­tered in the fan­tasy sec­tion of the show and while she didn’t win the run­way event on Septem­ber 2, Reddy said the cos­tume looked ‘‘awe­some’’.

De­signer Zoe Beck took out the crown for her Min­ion-in­spired male and fe­male out­fits.

Kai­wai’s de­sign was worn on the run­way by Mad­di­son An­gus from the Youth­line Al­ter­na­tive Ed­u­ca­tion in Auck­land. With­out her help, Kai­wai said she might not have been able to show her de­sign, since she didn’t have a model for the Auck­land show.

New Zealand Fash­ion Week is only the start for the as­pir­ing cos­tume de­signer. As a good­bye gift to her school, she’s been mak­ing a suit of ar­mour for stu­dents to use as a mas­cot. She’s even had help with cre­at­ing it from a cou­ple of cos­tume de­sign­ers at Weta Work­shop.

‘‘I have been send­ing pho­tos back and for­ward and they’ve been men­tor­ing me,’’ Kai­wai said.

NINA KAI­WAI

Kai­wai’s Mother Na­ture-in­spired cos­tume took her a year to make and is worn here by her friend Janey Meir­ing.

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