A designer from Marton is set to have her clothing shown alongside the biggest names in New Zealand fashion.
After being selected at a competition for Māori designers, Erana Kaa will be showing her work at New Zealand Fashion Week in August.
Kaa, who is Ngāpuhi, entered a competition run by Miromoda, the Indigenous Māori Fashion Apparel Board, for aspiring Māori designers in Wellington in late June.
She was one of five emerging designers selected to be a part of Miromoda’s show at Fashion Week.
Although Kaa was excited by the opportunity, she said the weeks leading up to the show would be full of alterations and subtle tweaks to her collection.
“It’s exciting, but it’s a lot of pressure. It’s a moment for you to achieve as much as you can.”
Kaa said she was looking forward to seeing her six looks grace the catwalk, the biggest stage her clothing has been on.
“I’ll be backstage hyperventilating and watching on the screen… It’ll be a good moment.”
The 43-year-old only started designing fashion 2½ years ago and won a competition with the first garment she designed.
Kaa has been an art teacher and an artist, with experience in painting, and is about to start her PhD in creative arts.
Kaa’s collection was called Tutū, which means to disrupt and cause mischief. She said she wanted to stay away from what was expected from her visually as a Māori designer.
“There are expectations that I’ll have tiki everywhere. I want to go beyond the iconography of Māori visual language.”
The collection told the story of her identity and how it was formed through the urbanisation of her Māori mother. She said contrast was a recurring feature in her collection, representing that internal conflict.
“We have to try and make an effort to connect to our tūrangawaewae [sense of identity].”
Using her art background, Kaa said she wanted to blur the line between fashion and art and design clothing with “a story and richness to it”.
Kaa won a grant from Earle Creativity Trust, which allowed her to buy machines and fabric for her collection.