Developing and presenting a multimedia show for Cult Couture: Fabrik Navigators was both exciting and insightful.
This show was an extension of my AITU solo exhibition of photographic works (Portfolio page), where movement and performance was able to run wild + I was able to bring on board some of the talented people i love and enjoy.
My intention as creative director this year was to focus on the ‘point of difference’ + criteria for who and what else can the judges offer and why we choose our particular supreme winner.
First, I started focusing the ‘thinking’ towards the anchorage I have found through my own experience as a Pacific Couture designer drawing inspiration from my own lineage already rich with mythology, legend and ancient history, to build my own point of difference, it was a wonderful time to share this approach with an event that started to look like every other fashion event and inspire other designers trying to build their own foundation, to think about their own lineage first, their own point of difference, that no one can take away from them unless they belong to that same lineage.
Second, the criteria for who should judge (any) fashion show, must do more. I think it is old-fashioned and boring to have judges who are ‘celebrities’ sitting there ‘looking’ pretty and thats it!. So by example i made sure that as a judge for Cult Couture, i DID MORE with whatever i could…something that was a ‘real-world’ stepping stone that had a long term impact on the individual rather than just money that usually goes straight to bills rendering the winner back at where they started. more for the designer who won the overall prize. As an owner of an exciting new manufacturing company, Equinox Apparel, i was able to offer a manufacturing contract that would enable the supreme winner to go through a crucial process in developing a small range of their own designs and samples, going through costings, developing imagery, participating in our production processes, etc, skills they will take with them on their journey.
When entering Cult Couture, Designers need to push themselves while working within the restrictions of a category brief and yet, find ‘balance’ between the extreme innovations of FashionART and the extreme boredom of FashionBIZ. This takes self awareness and self confidence. A designers willingness to make the mistakes, will teach them these rich qualities.
and Finally, the designer, need to firstly, be MORE unafraid to push their own creative boundaries, unafraid of what others may think and trust their own instincts. Secondly, our events need to ‘get real’ and start taking more time and care into what their platform represents…is it a show? of is it an opportunity?
I chose Trish Strongman as our Supreme Winner based on her ability to design FashionART inspired by her own whakapapa, “My Kuia’s garden” that was ready to translate into FashionBIZ, a commerical product.
I take my wig off to Olivia and the Southside Arts Festival family for going out on a limb with something NEW. This is the first time ANY fashion award included a manufacturing contract, it is the first time a fa’afafine has been at the helm and this is the first time Auckland and Invercargill came together to create an amazing AITU experience.
Special Thanks to:
Mayor Len Brown
Auckland City Council
Southside Arts Festival
Olivia Taouma (Arts & Culture Programme Leader (Pasifika))
Torise Flay (Cult Couture Coordinator)
Mikki-Tae Tapara (Event Producer)
Jep Savali (Production Manager)
Dan Ahwa (Judge1 & Canvas Magazine)
Doris de Pont (Judge2 & NZ Fashion Icon)
Charlene Loheni (Judge3 & MENA)
PIPA (Pacific Institute of Performance Art)
Goretti Chadwick-Wickman (PIPA & Pani1of2)
Anapela Polataivao (Pani2of2)
Osana Suniula (Intern & Production Assist)
Peni Moala (Intern & Prduction Assist)
Kerry Penisula-Spain (Makeup & Hair Stylist)
Amanaki Prescott-Faletau (AITU1: Nafanua & Fine Fatale Choreography)
Maxine Kalolo (AITU2: Telesa)
Paul Fagamalo (AITU3: Taema)
Fine Fatale (Fa’afafine Dancers: Traditional & Contemporary Hip Hop)
Mario Faumui (Fine Fatale: Manager & FRESH TV)
Leki Jackson-Bourke (Coconut Boyz: Manager & Stage Manager Assist)
Coconut Boyz (Male Dancers: Cultural)
Lasalo Elia (Original Music)
Robert O’Brien (Aivale Cole: Manager)
Aivale Cole (Original Opera Music)
Conor McCafferty (Redeleven Agent)
Raymond Sagapolutele (Photography)
Siulolo Fonua (Rental Car)