07 Nov Young designer blossoms

Talented year 13 textile technology student Sophie Usui has been awarded the highest of accolades as the 2016 national winner of the Young Designer Awards.  These are awarded by the Design and Arts College in Christchurch.  College course advisor Annabel Barringer told Sophie the judges were “blown away” by Sophie’s entry and that her final design was “stunning”.

Sophie’s describes her winning entry, titled ‘Hanami’, as a culturally inspired garment made for the Nelson Japanese society.  According to Sophie, “when the cherry blossoms bloom, Japanese people throw a big picnic party under the trees which is called Hanami, literally meaning flower viewing.  (It) is a centuries old practice enjoying the transient beauty of flowers.”  This was the inspiration for her design.

Nayland College textiles technology teacher Cushla Laufkotter says the project was two-pronged.  It had to meet both the criteria for both the Young Designer Awards, as well as being Sophie’s major textiles project for NCEA level 3.  It took the best part of two months to create, with Sophie working a lot at home as well as in school.

The humble student was not expecting the win.   She described it as “a big surprise”.  “I was playing a game and then my notification popped up” she said.  “I was in the car and I got really excited and freaked out my grandparents.”

Ironically Sophie will not be taking up the offer of a scholarship for the first year’s tuition from the College.  A multi-talented artist and designer, she will instead head to Animation College in Auckland and pursue a career in illustration.  “I like drawing the most out of my arty stuff,” she said.  “And the fashion industry sounds scary.  That movie The Devil Wears Prada put me off.”

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