Images of oil-soaked birds after the Rena disaster were the inspiration behind the award-winning dress from aspiring Tauranga fashion designer Charlotte Bishop.
The fashion design student’s liquid latex dress ‘Black Tide’ was the supreme winner at the Hokonui Fashion Design Awards in Gore at the weekend.
Rena’s oiled birds inspired Tauranga fashion student Charlotte Bishop’s award-winning dress design. Photo supplied.
The aspiring designer, who is completing her third year studying fashion design, says – like most people in the area – she was devastated by the disaster but decided to draw on the event in her work.
“When Rena happened like everyone around here I was pretty upset about it. So I felt I had to do something positive with a truly tragic situation, so I created a design to try and do some good.
“It was horrible. It affected the region so much, so I wanted to do something to make it a little easier.”
Charlotte, who also won the avant garde award, was “stunned” to win the supreme award – saying the recognition will help her achieve her goal as top pattern-maker.
“It just blows my minds that I’ve been so successful at these awards.”
Her winning entry was part of her avant garde ‘Salvage’ series of three designs inspired by the Rena, including another dress and a jacket and pant-suit.
Charlotte says she loves making avant garde designs as a student because she will not have the same chance when she is working in fashion.
“I am always drawn to the extreme. I like pushing the boundaries as much as I can.”
Tauranga fashion student Charlotte Bishop won the supreme award at the Hokonui Fashion Design Awards for a dress inspired by the Rena disaster. Photo by Bruce Barnard.
Charlotte, 30, decided to re-train as a fashion designer when she struggled to find work after shifting to Tauranga.
“It’s the best decision I’ve ever made.”
After completing a two-year diploma in fashion design at the Bay of Plenty Polytechnic, Charlotte is now taking third year Otago Polytechnic papers to complete a Bachelor of Design (fashion).
She is still based at Windermere campus.