Fashion students PITCH their wares

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21 Nov 2016

Unleashing their creativity for their final collection at Ara, Fashion Technology and Design students are putting the final stitches on rows of garments for PITCH, the annual Ara runway fashion show on 26 November in the Whareora, City Campus Christchurch.

Many hours of work go into each collection, such as Liz Commons' As Above So Below pictured above, for the PITCH runway show at Ara.

The highlight of the show is always the final year students’ collections. These represent the culmination of three years of study, and the best part of four months’ work - planning, designing, constructing and choreographing up to 15 different outfits each, tied together by a conceptual theme.

Metropolis was the starting point for Liz Commons. The early cinematic masterpiece is a German expressionist science-fiction film that exposes the exploitation of workers to maintain the reign of wealthy industrialists in a futuristic dystopia.

“My collection is the trans-seasonal 2017. Called As Above So Below, it’s based on the 1927 Fritz Lang film Metropolis. I took a lot of social influences from this film, including the social divide between the thinkers and the workers, the different social classes, and made it relevant to what’s happening today,” Commons said.

Commons responded with a monochromatic palette reflecting the often stark black and white film. Geometric prints, which she also designed, are often hidden inside her tailored outfits and highly original one-armed jackets, given the sense of a hidden world beneath the surface that Lang depicted.

Liz Commons with her collection for PITCH, As Above So Below.

The students have already designed a mid-year collection this year called FORM. These are designed to a brief from industry partners, such as Karen Walker and Stolen Girlfriends Club, but in their final show the students are given full creative license.

First and second year students are also involved in PITCH with mini collections. Ella van Beynen, a first year student in the new Bachelor of Design (Fashion Technology and Design), took a dark theme to her sewing machine, using as her inspiration the concept of fairy tales – and not the ones with happy endings either.

“I’m looking at common themes in classic horror. Fashion and horror,” she says.

Van Beynen says she sewed a little before enrolling in the programme but has now learned how to construct garments properly. She now feels more confident in making clothes that are wearable as well as looking good.

Awards will be given for outstanding student work at the PITCH event. Judges include Megan McKee from Contemporary Lounge Ballantynes, Karlya Smith, Fashion Editor for the Weekend Press and Darren Barry, Lead Designer for Kathmandu.

Whareora at Ara City campus (Madras Street) on Saturday 26 November from 8.30pm. Tickets cost $28 and are available at