Young designer set to paint fashion week orange

Talented fashion designer Sarah Browning from Howick with her design on a model. Photo supplied

Sarah Browning’s tango dress in Resene Tango is tipped to turn heads.

Her design is a nod to the movie ‘Take the Lead’ where a dance teacher inspires troubled students to imagine new beginnings.

Browning says her career in fashion was inspired by her high school teacher Elisha Hoskin at Howick College who might be in the audience when her former student’s tango dress is among a collection of stunning garments leading three shows at NZ Fashion Week which has been postponed due to Level 4 lockdown.

Designs by Browning and 15 of her contemporaries were this week to feature in the Resene Designer Runway shows at the Auckland Town Hall. Organisers said the show will go on. It will be the eighth Resene Colour of Fashion project with Whitecliffe Fashion Tech.

“My intention for this garment is to create a modern looking tango dress with openings to show that there are new paths that we can go down, but it still unites as one,” says Browning.

“Resene Tango is vibrant, playful and energetic whether it’s a twist on the dance floor or a strut down the runway the colour would catch any eye. I created a dress that is a fashion forward tango dress, featuring cut-outs, asymmetrical lines and a low back.”

Each year undergrads in their final year at Whitecliffe Fashion Tech in Auckland and Wellington are tasked to design, make and present to judges a work of contemporary fashion in silk, in an array of Resene paint colours, as part of their pathway to graduation in November.

2021 is a milestone year. It’s the 20th year of NZ Fashion Week and the 75th year Resene has been at forefront of all things colour in New Zealand.

The judges were looking for designs that were “super-current”. Many of the looks hinted at design elements from 1946 – the year Resene began.

Dame Pieter Stewart, founder of NZ Fashion Week, joined Ruby general manager Emily Miller-Sharma, Val Marshall-Smith founder of NZ Fashion Tech (now Whitecliffe Fashion Tech) and Resene marketing manager Karen Warman at the judging table.

They selected these top-16 finalists to appear at NZ Fashion Week

For some of the students, it was less than five years ago when they sewed their first stitch. Now they have a chance to see their work on models walking the same runway as the winter 2022 collections of Kate Sylvester, Trelise Cooper and Zambesi.

In eight years of the Resene Colour of Fashion project more than 220 students of fashion have been given a highly visible platform in the fashion industry on the strength of this partnership between New Zealand’s leading paint and fashion education companies.

The finalists will also lead Whitecliffe Fashion Tech’s graduate runway show in November where the 2021 winner will be announced and a prize from Resene presented.

Karen Warman of Resene says, “We love giving these creative young people a head start in fashion. They immerse themselves in their Resene colour and produce a stunning contemporary look that celebrates the colour and their talent.

“We are thrilled the project this year marks our part in New Zealand’s colour story which started 75 years ago. We can’t wait to see all of the finalists colouring up the runway at the 20th NZ Fashion Week,” she says.

Whitecliffe chairman Feroz Ali and new owner of NZ Fashion Week says, “We treasure the long-standing partnership with Resene. Each year, the Resene Colour of Fashion project offers an incredible opportunity for Whitecliffe Fashion Tech students to showcase their skills to the industry, family and friends.”