2015's final year fashion students make their biggest PITCH

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17 Nov 2015

Cara Davis seems remarkably relaxed for someone who is simultaneously constructing a collection of 10 original outfits, organising her models for the PITCH runway show on 21 November and finalising her workbooks in order to pass CPIT's Fashion Technology and Design Diploma.

She talks about Dior and the Garden of Versailles, which she visited last year and which provides the inspiration for her sophisticated, feminine collection. Based on a sumptuous floral print, the collection features reds and purples and tailoring that echoes nature's natural shapes – as well as Dior's famously flattering '50s sensibility.

"I really wanted to do something with colour this time around because my last collection was quite monochromatic. So I saw these pictures I had from my trip away and I wanted to do a feminine collection so it all fell into place after I did a bit of research."

Inspiration is just one part of the process though and listening to Cara it soon becomes evident that a huge amount of skills and many, many hours of work go into each student's collection. 

Cara Davis 

After the inspiration

"You come up with your brief with the number of models and who we are designing for – our target market. Then there is the research of the theme – Dior, current trends and colour palettes, what's coming up in the new season forecasts and then we put it all together into concepts and start fleshing out those ideas into final designs."

"Then how we are actually going to make it comes into play so that you know it is going to work. So  technical flats, pattern making, it's really fun, we make toiles or mock-ups, check the fabrication, trims and finishing, how the garment works – how you get into it – and you have all your documentation and you know it is going to work."

Fabrics chosen, patterns finalised, finishings assembled, Cara is now very much into the construction stage and with just 3 weeks to go she has some pieces finished already. She shows off a silk red skirt with cinched in waist and pleats on one side, a cocktail dress in shimmering beige and culottes in the wonderful floral print that ties the collection together colour wise.  

The fashion industry and PITCH

At the same time, the third year students must organise their own models, accessories and choreography for PITCH, which is a well-produced event that is well attended by industry members who are keen to see what the class of 2015 can do.

Cara can see how all of this is getting the students ready for the fast-paced fashion industry. PITCH is a step up from their FORM collections earlier in the year, which were guided by the fashion labels that students did work placements with. Cara's placement was with Lonely Hearts, a whimsical label that also specialises in exquisite lingerie, which are particularly technically demanding garments to construct.

 Although she is busy, Cara barely stops smiling as she talks about fashion. She loves what she is doing and can't wait to get out into the industry and get as much experience as possible. One day she might even start her own label, but there is a lot to learn before then. "I love designing, but my main love is pattern making; I'd like to work in pattern making for a while and really improve my skills there."

The industry alignment of the programme ensures that graduates are ready for the fast-paced fashion industry. Pending New Zealand Qualifications Authority approval, CPIT's Bachelor of Design programme will be offering degree-level study in a fashion technology specialisation next year.

PITCH features full collections by 11 final year Fashion Technology and Design students, plus mini-collections by second year students and two outfits each constructed by first year students.

This year PITCH will be staged in CPIT's new Whareora (Science and Wellbeing facility) on 21 November at 8pm. Tickets are $28/15 and are available from https://www.eventbrite.co.nz/e/cpit-pitch-fashion-show-tickets-19370496677