Fashion graduates wow Kuala Lumpur

News News & events

13 Mar 2013

CPIT fashion graduates Phoebe Ratcliff-Reid and Melissa McIndoe are “over the moon” after winning first and second prize, with their Malaysian counterparts, in the New Zealand Week fashion competition in Kuala Lumpur last night.

The girls met legendary shoe designer Jimmy Choo, New Zealand singer Boh Runga and other celebrities at the event, but found that they were the stars of the night.

“This is the icing on the cake,” CPIT fashion tutor Nicola Chrisp said from Kuala Lumpur today. “The show was absolutely amazing and all the students had obviously worked hard.”

Education New Zealand (ENZ) created the competition as part of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s New Zealand Week to showcase the quality of fashion and design courses in New Zealand to Malaysia.

The competition paired New Zealand fashion graduates with Malaysian counterparts to conceptualise, design and construct a mini collection under the theme of post-earthquake Christchurch ‘Virtual Re-Start Fashion Competition’. Third place went to one of four students from Massey University; other contestants were from WinTec, Otago Polytechnic, and Whitireia Polytechnic.

Fashion show

Kathryn Lagrosa Rao (left) from Raffles College of Higher Education in Malaysia and Phoebe Ratcliff-Reid (right) from CPIT win first place at Education New Zealand's fashion competition in Kuala Lumpur. Photo courtesy of NZ Trade & Enterprise, Malaysia 2013.

Chrisp said the students’ ability to collaborate and their excellent technical construction skills impressed the Malaysian students and the judges. The teams had just three days together to finalise their collections, but had been in touch by email and Skype previously.

“They found ways to work together. Their collections were seamless and you couldn’t tell where the Asian influence was and where the kiwi influence was.”

Ratcliff Reid said that the trip had been educational, eye opening and challenging, but her highlight had been meeting her Malaysian counterpart. “My favourite part of the whole trip was meeting Kathryn. We have become really close friends and to find someone like that who also compliments and enhances your point of view as a designer is extremely rare and amazing."

Ratcliff Reid won $10,000 for first place and McIndoe won $3,000. Both were accustomed to creating collections under pressure, having done so twice last year as part of their training. For Pitch, CPIT’s end of year fashion showcase, they each designed and sewed 10 ensembles of around 30 garments including formal dresses and suits. The strong technical emphasis of CPIT’s Fashion Technology and Design programme ensured the girls had honed their construction skills.