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Avant-garde fashion show began as church fundraiser

By Marie Sherry

From small beginnings as a church fundraiser, the Nouveau Design Awards in Wakefield have grown into a successful scholarship venture for local secondary school students.

Top: The Nouveau Design Awards raises money for young artists and provides an opportunity for children, teenagers and young adults to design and model their own creations.

Middle: This year the supreme Kaimira Estate Winery award went to Janet Southwick for her Uptown Girl entry.

Bottom: Bussing along.

The Nouveau Design Awards, held in late February, are understood to have raised a total of $3500 to help keen young artists in the Wakefield region. The awards were set up to showcase quality art and design work in a variety of disciplines.

Organiser Rose Shepard says the show was a big success, with about 1000 people attending.

Rose was involved in the Wearable Arts Awards when it originated in Nelson, and wanted to do something specifically for the Wakefield region. She is a former Methodist youth worker for Nelson/Tasman.

“We started this show as quite small. It was just a fundraiser for the Methodist Church in Wakefield, but it got too big to be run by the church people. We changed it to become a fundraiser for a youth scholarship trust, which offers

scholarships for young people involved in the arts.”

The first two years under the Wakefield District Youth Trust saw a total of $13,000 in scholarships. Winners of the scholarships can be involved in anything within the arts, including music, dancing, photography, graphic design and art. The scholarships can be used to cover such things as private tuition, materials and travel.

Rose says the standard of avant-garde fashion at this year’s Nouveau Design Awards was extremely good.

The event was held at the Spring Grove Hall and was open to children as young as four years old.

The awards cover eight categories. These include a section for four-to-10 year olds, with the children designing and helping to make their entry, which they must model themselves. Entrants in the 11-to-15-year category must design and make their own entry, which they can choose to model if they want.

There is also a category for 16-to-25 year olds, the Kiwi blokes section, the Waste Not section which must involve 80 per cent recycled materials, the Night Life section, the open section, and the Aotearoa New Zealand category.

The supreme Kaimira Estate Winery award, which included a cash prize of $1000, was won by Janet Southwick for her Uptown Girl entry.

Rose says next year the Kiwi blokes category will be replaced by a Down on the Farm section.

All proceeds are administered by The Wakefield District Youth Trust and will be used to assist young artists in the Wakefield district. The scholarship applications closed at the end of March, with the funds due to be allocated in early May.