Big bang inspired collection wins Pitch 2017

News News & events

28 Nov 2017

Drawing on ancient philosophy and contemporary physics, third year Fashion Design and Technology student William Roper won the supreme “Industry Design” award at the Ara Institute of Canterbury annual Pitch runway fashion show on Saturday night (25 November).

Judges (Sara Munro - Designer and Owner at Company of Strangers, Tanya Carlson - Designer and Owner at Carlson, and Megan McKee - Buyer for Contemporary Lounge at Ballantynes) were won over by the theme, the creativity and the solid, technical skill of William’s trans-seasonal collection named All Under Heaven.

William Roper's collection All Under Heaven captured judges' attention at Pitch, the annual Fashion runway showcase at Ara. (Photos by Sean Spivey).

“Judges said that it was a cohesive collection, attention to detail both in design and make was amazing, and there was an impressive number of garments completed in such a short time frame,” Ara Fashion Programme Leader Nicola Chrisp said.  

William took the Chinese expression ‘All Under Heaven’, which is used to describe the empire, the whole world and everything that exists under the heavens, as his starting point.

“Inspiration for this collection is based in the theories of particle physics and the ancient Chinese text the ‘I Ching’; both ways in which humanity has tried to make sense of the world…,” his programme notes revealed.  

“This is reflected in the collection through the counterparts of tailoring and drape, where tailoring represents symmetry and Yang, and drape the multiverse and Yin. The colour palette is inspired by the scientific understanding that our universe was created during the Big Bang… and that our galaxy, the Milky Way, will be destroyed by another massive explosion when the Andromeda Galaxy collides with ours.”

“A lot of things are within your grasp

if you really commit to it and put the effort in”

William used a tricolour palette of “firey, vibrant orange; desolate, impermeable black; and ethereal, vaporous white” to achieve his vision. The technical elements of shirting and tailoring with draped silks and merinos with raw hems was no doubt influenced by his work placements with top New Zealand designers Jimmy D and Zambesi - a small label established in 2004 by Auckland-based designer James Dobson and an iconic label founded by Elisabeth and Neville Findlay in 1979, respectively.

Creating the collection taught William “the value of hard work, and that a lot of things are within your grasp if you really commit to it and put the effort in. Also the importance of having good people to work with. I couldn’t have done this year without my classmates - some who have become my close friends,” he said.  

“All Under Heaven” was a more commercial collection than William’s mid-year collection My Hearts are Beating Fast , which was designed and constructed for the mid-year Form fashion exhibition at Ara.

While Pitch showcases the students’ skills to industry and potential employers, Form is directly influenced by industry work placements and has more scope for unconventional creative expression, alongside practising those all-important technical skills. Both events require varied technical skills from pattern making to construction.

Pitch judges commented that for the New Zealand industry to grow, it needs graduates with the ability to full garment make. William has his sights set high, but is realistic about the preparation he needs to get there. “I want to work in a fashion workroom that does onshore manufacturing, doing something to do with production - pattern making, sample machining, or assisting with production in some way. I’d love to start my own label one day and I think working in a workroom like that is the best way to learn the skills you need.”