Whitecliffe Resene 2022

Design by Henry Calkin (who is pictured at left)

Fashion student Henry Caulkin has literally won the pot of gold at the end of the fashion rainbow, winning the prestigious Resene Colour of Fashion 2022 Challenge.

The Whitecliffe School of Fashion and Sustainability student took top honours in the highly coveted competition, with his design in Resene Grape Escape inspired by the Matariki star cluster.

Henry was immediately inspired by the Grape Escape colour when he was handed his fabric earlier this year when the project began.

“It’s a stunning colour. It looked like the night sky when the stars are really shining through.”

Inspired by the Matariki star cluster, Henry’s design featured stars laser-cut from silk, macramé ties woven together like flax, and a cloak-like shawl. His winning design was a nod to his childhood on the Kapiti Coast.

“Te Ao Māori influences were strong where I grew up in Raumati, and I wanted to capture that in my design.”

Resene Colour of Fashion is a fashion education project, celebrating its ninth year and part of the curriculum in the final year for Whitecliffe students completing a three-year diploma in fashion technology.

Briefed to design and make a striking and beautiful fashion look that would resonate globally, this year’s crop of graduating fashion professionals across both the Aukland and Wellington Whitecliffe campuses were also asked to find their inspiration close to home – in nature and in their own worlds.

Entrants brought design ideas as diverse as the spiral of a snail shell, the ‘tingle’ feeling of the forest, pōhutukawa flowers, plumage of a kereru, the sun, and a forgotten forest hut.

The colours of the silk they worked with are new Resene releases for a summer of painting. Resene Very Berry, Resene Coconut Ice, Resene Kombucha, and Resene Grape Escape were part of the colour palette which stimulated the students’ appetite for boundary-pushing design.

Resene Colour of Fashion with Whitecliffe is a project that has seen hundreds of fashion students in their final year get a taste of the challenging and rewarding world of fashion.

Lights, cameras, models, and a top-level judging panel are all part of the experience for these young designers. Judges select a shortlist of finalists (this year there were 13 finalists) and from those final looks, the overall winner was chosen, winning not just the prestige of the title but also a $1000 cash prize from Resene.

Also part of the experience is the students directing their own portfolio images from behind the camera, on the day of judging. Their work also features in a Resene online gallery and will be showcased at this week’s Whitecliffe graduate runway shows in Auckland and Wellington.

“We love giving these young people a chance to explore their creativity with colour and experience this aspect of the fashion industry before they embark on their careers,” says Karen Warman of Resene.

“The high quality of design the students have brought to this year’s project is awesome. Resene is proud to support New Zealand’s next generation of fashion talent, and we look forward to the tenth year of Resene Colour of Fashion with Whitecliffe in 2023.”

Whitecliffe Chairman Feroz Ali says, “We value this partnership with Resene, which will soon reach its 10-year milestone. Each year, Resene Colour of Fashion offers our students an incredible opportunity to showcase their skills to their families, friends, and also their future employers.”

The 13 finalists were: (Auckland Campus): Amy Harkness (Good To Go); Ann Horner (Amped); Basima Mohammad (Light Fantastic); Eileen Parr (Boost); Grace Peacock (Rulebreaker); Yin Ya Shi (Key Largo); Summer Wilkinson (Off The Grid) and (Wellington Campus): Sophelia Hook (Very Berry); Janita Vasconceles-Abery (Boost); Nina Stuart-Manning (Kombucha); Henry Calkin (Grape Escape); Bodeen Stewart (Coconut Ice); and William Pan (Tarzan).

Images by Jono Kraettli

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