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The Narrative Award section was added to the Hokonui Fashion Design Awards in 2022.
The brief  for designers was to write a 200 word narrative, describing the creative and visual themes of their garment.
Below is the winning Narrative Award entry, and narratives submitted by some of the other section winners.


Country LIVING


Written by Designer
Lucas Jones, Otago Polytech, Dunedin

Inspired by utilitarianism and mental health, my outfit 'Alone in a Crowded Place' looks to play on the idea of being unseen in bustling streets whilst also being the center of attention. In todays ever evolving and ever moving world, some people crave something to make them stand out in a crowd, the eye catcher. Others try to blend in to the background, almost non - existent. Some people want both, depending on the day.  With this outfit I have tried to implement both into the construction.

narratives submitted
by our 2023 winners


Mackersy Property Collections Award Winner and Mataura Licensing Trust Award Of Excellence WINNER

Written by Molly Marsh, Otago Polytechnic, Dunedin


For as long as I can remember, the homemade grass tennis court never fails to appear on my lawn each summer. I've played, watched and umpired, but my favourite part about tennis growing up was dressing up in my mum's old tennis uniforms, pretending to be Maria Sharapova at Wimbledon.


Game, Set and Match; A celebration of tennis whites.

Sportswear has effected women's participation levels in tennis. Suzanne Leng-lan, Lea Peri-collie, Billie Jean King and Serena Williams are legendary names who have majorly impacted this issue. Some would say they are the Wonderwomen of Tennis.


I focused on showcasing a timeline of tennis wear development through my designs. Inspired by marrying highly restrictive/uncomfortable garments with supportive, stylish and breathable ones.


Corsetry, bloomers, long skirts, short skirts, tracksuits, singlets, catsuits and mini dresses are all reflected within the three outfits. During my research, I realised that if a catwalk has seen it, so has the tennis court.


Look 1 - A pleated-up warm-up.

I took the one detail embedded in the history of tennis wear and pulled apart, twisted and reworked it. Vertical pleats became horizontal, Mini became maxi, and a traditional skirt feature was transferred to the sleeves of a top.


Look 2 - Taking the court, quite literally.

A tracksuit-inspired set paired with an overcoat. A coat to put the Athete in the zone. Feeling connected as one with the grass court helps to do so.


Look 3 - It's 'all or nothing'

Is the saying above regarding an unbelievable match performance or the tennis-inspired details on the match dress? I will let you decide...


Scallops, shirring, thin rick rack, thick rick rack, thin rick rack on thick rick rack, box pleats, knife pleats, pleats on pleats, pleats on ruffles, ruffles, ruffles on ruffles, ruffles on pleats - you get the idea.


All n all. I hope you enjoy watching the athlete's looks come to life, whether that's pre or post-match. Remember to have a cold Pimms or some strawberries & cream in hand while you do so.

I hope I 'aced it'


Gore District Council Auaha Award Winner

Written by designers Nan Walden, Eva Mokalai, Sylvie Hardie-Boys, Issy Taylor, Fendi Von Hoff - Wellington East Girls College


Name - Te kura kohine o te rawhiti o te upoko o te ika!

Garment one - Matairangi

Garment two - Pukeahu

Garment three - Ahumairangi


Ko Matairangi toku maugna

Ko Te Whanganui ā-Tara te Moana

Ko Ākina Te Tii te Whare Māori


“Ka hinga kainga tahi, ka ora kainga rua”Ka mate te kāinga tahi, ka ora te kāinga rua


When one house dies, a second lives


Historically used when two houses or families are merged due to the unfortunate circumstances of one particular family. However this could be used when something good emerges from misfortune.

‍This Whakataukī and kākahu design refers to all urban Māori who have parted their homes and found new beginnings in the city.


The center triangles represents the unification of ngā taiohi (youth), their identity and connection or whanaungatanga with others.


Black symbolises the creation of the universe.

White symbolises ‘Te Ao Marama’ representing the importance of education and striving to reach one’s highest potential.  

Red symbolises te toto whakapapa or genealogical lines.


We are a proud group of Aotearoa citizens who have been able to have the opportunity to come together and create such wonderful taonga for our school, these korowai will be gifted as garments to be worn by our head students and leaders to enhance their mana and show off our creations.


As a group we have been able to come together and adhere to our school values as a kakahu komiti, these values of Whanaungatanga, Aroha and Rangatiratanga are epitomized physically in this collection.


Haumi E, Hui E, Tahiki E! Ti hei Mauri Ora! Mauir Rawhiti!


Hokonui Heritage Precinct Avanted Garde Award Winner, and Collaborate Fashion PEople's Choice Winner

Written by Debbie Smith, Gore


The best use of imagination is creativity. Through design you can bring a garment to life. Here is the traditional story and my representation of Papatūānuku–Earth Mother. Papatūānuku, along with Ranginui, the sky, was born in darkness known as Te Pō. Papatūānuku and Ranginui. They became the progenitors of all life and all natural phenomena. All things are born from her and nurtured by her. The dark colour of my garment represents the darkness of the beginnings known as Te Pō. Papatūānuku and Ranginui, the lace on the back represents water which is the essence of all life, like the blood of Papatūānuku who supports all people, plants and wildlife. Ko te wai te ora ngā mea katoa - Water is the life giver of all things. The Merge of endemic and introduced Aotearoa flora and fauna represents our vibrant and breathtakingly beautiful Aoteroa.  Ranginui and Papatūānuku had several children while remaining in an embrace, their many children gave birth to more children, including birds, fish, winds, and water, so all things of this world are interconnected. The children grew frustrated with living in darkness between their parents, and conspired to separate them by thrusting Ranginui above and Papatūānuku below. Thus the world of light, Te Ao Mārama, came into being.  My fabric was all hand created from threads crisscrossing as life itself entwines the connection to all living things. The Fuchsia Known as kōtukutuku provides food for our birds and our pi rorohu Bumblebee.  Tane God of the forest had a particular strong connection to birds thus having the magical piwaka waka faintail leading you into the ancient realm of the forests, they are messengers of warnings and protector of females. The Huia feather on the headpiece was revered as a symbol of nobility, leadership and hierarchy.  The baby represents life and wears a pounamu stone which holds Wairua and a Korowai Maori cloak made from threads and fabric. The name Korowai is symbolic of leadership, and includes the obligation to care for the people and environment.  It is important that we protect our land and water from erosion, deforestation and inappropriate land use.   Papatuanuku Earth Mother is not responsible for our future! we are. How we choose to live each day whether we regard or disregard her doesn’t really matter to her, one way or the other our actions will determine our fate not hers.


Property Brokers Menswear Award Winner

Written by Jamie Black, Cambridge


The ‘20-year rule’, a common occurrence in fashion where in every two decades or so trends from the recent past come back into popularity. This got me thinking... if trends can come back into cultural relevance from the 1970s & 1980s why not trends from further back? Why not 1870’s or the 1780’s! Let's take inspiration from historical and traditional garments from centuries ago and bring them into the modern-day fashion world.  


When starting my design process, I had two design requirements...

- To draw inspiration from a culture not in my own heritage.

- To capture the look while keeping it comfortable and accessible for the

  modern-day man.

In a time long before fast fashion where each outfit was a precious and costly piece of art, ‘easy to wear’ wasn’t really considered as a design factor. So that became an important part of my design process.


I found that Asian garments particularly those from Chinese, Korean and Japanese culture fulfilled both of my design requirements. What I particularly drew inspiration from was the way they captured an elegant and sophisticated male look while not shying away from embellishments and silhouettes that in other cultures could be considered feminine.


Let's get into the details of the final look and the themes behind them...


First the under shirt and pants, I drew similarities to the way in which many of the everyday garment like Yukatas and Hakama were made. Using minimal pattern shaping and allowing the square cut fabric to drape over the body. And the abundance of fabric to shape of the pants legs.


The Jacket takes inspiration primarily from Chinese and Korean influences with its long double slits and the sleeves being based off Korean Hanbok sleeves, curving out at the elbow then tightening up at the cuffs.  


The back motif depicts a pop-art Jiangshi, a type of reanimated corpse also known as a Chinese hopping vampire. They’re often depicted with a paper ‘sealing tag’ or talisman attached to their foreheads, so as a twist on that tradition I created my own ‘tag’ using a Taoist Fu based talisman for wealth and prosperity mixed with my brand name as the ‘spell’ wording. Symbolizing the marketability of ‘dead’ fashion styles.


A blend of past and present, culture and pop culture, coming together to create and look of casual elegance. Who says that the past repeating itself is a bad thing?


Collective Design School Streetwear Award Runner-up and Huffer YounG Designer Award Winner

Written by Kersha Napier, St Matthew's Collegiate, Masterton


Corporate wear x Streetwear crossover, the outcome is dynamite!

Working in an office doesn’t need to be bland, simple and lacking originality. That’s where an idea sprung bringing life to this world. Inspiration was drawn from a youthful, intelligent woman making her mark on the corporate world. She’s driven by her love of the street genre known for its bold, funk and lively trends. Wanting it all, and happy to risk wearing the daredevil side of her personality.  She wants heads to turn, and gossip focused on an outfit not seen before.  Her opponents are envious and intimidated by her noticeable confidence. She can head to the office and then out for the evening, the one look makes an impact no matter the surroundings. Barbie pink isn’t just for little girls, big girls want to have fun too!

Inch-perfect crisp white cotton generally seen in an office environment is played off against pink brushed paint, contradicting the style. A single-arm cutout keeps the shirt feminine with slimming pleats curving seamlessly through the waist. Checked fabric opposes dots, clashing and matching all at once. Then for the show-stopping pants and generous amounts of popping cargo pockets showing rules are made to be broken. The leg width is oversized to enhance the modern vibe. Delicate wool with a fine pinstripe goes against the grain with lines vertical and horizontal. A generous tote bag completes the look and supports the same lavish colour theme and fabric. Looking like a million bucks, she is ready to take on the world. If looks could kill, she’s onto a winner.


Collective Design School Streetwear Award Winner

Written by Caitlin Ryan, St Matthew's Collegiate, Masterton


Our world is suffocating, and we are to blame. Our clothes are drowning the planet, and it’s time that we start to care. Making garments that can be reworn, in many different ways, is what designers of the future need to be focusing on.

I aim to be a designer of the future, and I aim to be consciously thinking about the environment when I create garments. This is what led me to wanting to create an outfit made up of timeless elements, that can be reworn again and again, through different trend cycles. My garments are made in neutral colours, made to fit well, and made to be versatile enough so that they can be worn whichever way the wearer wants. Unzip the jacket, and style it with different pants for a more casual look. Swap out the jacket for a top, and make the pants a more understated garment. This is what our fashion future needs to look like; clothes that last longer than the season you’ve bought them for. We need to think about this when buying our own clothes; will I like this piece in a year? Will it keep me warm, will it be functional, what do I really need from this? While both pieces in my outfit aren’t your typical “timeless classic” style, they can’t be confined to a single trend or even micro-trend. Made to be kept, and not thrown away next season, these pieces collaborate for a striking, flattering and unique overall look - but the best part? That’s not the only thing they’re good for.

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