Matakana has a reputation for fostering creative talent and fashion designer Brydie Senior happens to be a prime example.
The 27-year-old is currently studying for the Bachelor of Media Arts and Fashion Design at the Waikato Institute of Technology (Wintec), and this year won a $15,000 scholarship to further her studies.
The scholarship comes after securing a swag of other Wintec awards and interning with top New Zealand designer Trelise Cooper.
But Brydie says when considering fashion, looking good and keeping abreast of the latest trends is only part of the equation.
She says it’s just as important to think about whether clothes are made in a sustainable way and whether exploited labour is used in their manufacture.
“If the clothes are cheap, why are they so cheap?” she asks.
“People are becoming a lot more aware of where their clothes come from and whether they are produced in an ethical way,” she says. That might not always be easy to figure out.
To make ethical fashion choices, Brydie advises paying attention to websites and social media pages, such as fashionrevolution.org, which are dedicated to ensuring clothes are produced in a way that is fair to people and the environment. Also look out for brands that are transparent about where and how their clothes are produced. And check for organic certification. Are crops like cotton being produced without the use of harsh chemicals?
Meanwhile, Brydie is enjoying her studies and says it was a “real rush” to be the winner of the annual scholarship that is open to Wintec students studying media, arts, business or IT.
“It’s just a huge encouragement and shows I’m on the right track. It’s empowering to be acknowledged for the effort and time you invest,” she says.