Choosing A Theme For Your Fashion Collection

6 February 2020


Choosing A Theme For Your Garment - this is based on spaghetti pastaThe theme or concept for your fashion collection can seem quite a daunting task to tackle at first.


Choosing a theme for a garment, or developing a theme overall for fashion designing a collection, like anything, gets easier the more you do it.


The main thing you need to consider at first is The Brief.  Have you been given a fashion brief or do you have any limitations (if you are a student fashion designer) or are you setting your own limits?  Have you been told how many ensembles or looks to produce?  How many garments or separates need to be made for each ensemble?


Next you will need to go to your mind-map or brainstorming session and look at the possible ideas there.  Often there is a similar concept or feeling running through that you may decide stimulates you creatively.  The words and images can often be brought together into an initial theme.


All good fashion colections have a certain concept or theme at their core.  It is this theme that will be personal and together with your signature style or design aesthetic will make it particular to you and no-one else.  It is your interests and outlook on the world that will be displayed creatively in your designs.


Themes and concepts can usually be described as being one of the following, abstract, conceptual or narrative.


Abstract Fashion Design Themes and Concepts


A simple word is usually the basis for this concept - you can explore a word that had been brought up, perhaps within your mind-map.  The word will usually lead to ideas.  The word will express images to you personally - how then can you translate this image into the design of your clothing.


Conceptual Fashion Design Themes and Concepts


The key here is visual stimulation of the senses.  Take or gather a series of images you like.  Though possibly unrelated in topic, a commonality may develop.  This could lead to developing texture, colour and shape in your fashion collection.


Narrative Fashion Design Themes and Concepts


Many fashion designers start with narratives - it is a useful starting approach.  A narrative means a story.  Think of a person and develop a character for them - who are they?  what's their job?  what do they do in their spare time?  what era are they living in?  develop a personality for your muse and then you design the clothes for their lifestyle.  Your muse has a character and a lifestyle and personality to help your research develop in a certain direction.  The muse will also help you later with ideas when you will need to present your collection.


Fashion Design Competitions in New Zealand

1 February 2018

Fashion Design Awards and Fashion Design Student Competitions NZ New Zealand Online Fashion Design School Learn Design | Sewing and Constructing Garments | Patternmaking Tutorials the Garment Industry Way


What Fashion Design Competitions And Awards Are There In NZ?


The fashion competitions and design awards available in New Zealand do change from year to year.  

Please contact me if you have something coming up you'd like to include on this list.

Competitions and awards are a great way of increasing your public profile and gaining confidence in your fashion designing skills.  They teach you about deadlines and how to work to a brief.  Please be aware that some of these competitions have strict entry criteria.

We are lucky in New Zealand to have quite a few design awards, competitions and shows to enter, many are smaller regional shows and do not get huge publicity so often great prizes (usually cash) are offered by sponsors with very few student designers entering.  There are often prize categories just for student designers.   If in doubt give it a go - you will gain valuable experience and get some great photographs of your entries on a catwalk, often with professional models, photographers, and most shows are covered with local newspaper coverage - reporters will write articles that you could add to your portfolio.

These competitions are not always just for student designers - most are open to the public.

Even though these shows are based in New Zealand please check with the organisers if you are an overseas based designer and wish to enter - you may be eligible to enter.  Shows like WOW are international events and attract designers from around the world.  We need entries in the smaller regional wearable arts shows to act as learning tools or feeder programs to entering the bigger shows like World Of Wearable Arts with the fantastic prize money and prestige that goes along with winning.


NZ Fashion Competitions and Awards - Including Eco and Wearable Arts

- Wool On - link here (Was part of the Blossom Festival)

- Project Runway - NZ edition - apply here

- Project Glow Wear - link to website here

- Pacific Fusion Fashion Show - link to website here

- Tarankai Fashion Art Awards - link to website - link to Facebook

- The Leather Fashion Design Awards 2016 - link here

- New Zealand Fashion Week - New Generation Show - link here also here

- World of Wearble Art (WOW) - link here

- Art Couture - facebook link here - Wearable Art.  This is where you can show garments that did not get into the World Of Wearable Art Awards (WOW) Tickets here

- Hokonui Fashion Design Awards - link here

- Ruapehu Snow Queen - Check out the Facebook page : Ruapehu Snow Queen

- Cult Couture - link to entry form

- Hastings Pak N Save Edible Fashion Awards - Check out the Facebook page : Hastings PAKnSAVE Edible Fashion Awards

- Newmarket Young Fashion Designer Awards - link here

- ID Dunedin - link here

- Miromoda Maori Fashion Awards - Auckland Fashion Week - link here

- Cadbury Couture - link here

- Fielddays Ag Art Wear - link here and here for entry form

- NZ Hat and Hair - link here

- NZ Eco Fashion Exposed -  Eco Fashion Week - Student Designers section - link here

- Steampunk Fashion Show - link here

- Celebration of Light Emerging Designers Competition - link here

- Fibre Octave - link here

- Calico Bride Award - biannually - as part of Hitched Rotorua Wedding Show -  link here

- NZ Wedding Industry Awards - these are new to the Bay Of Plenty - link here

- Oversew Fashion Awards - link here or for their facebook page link here

- Young Designer Awards ages 11-18 - link here

- NZ Light Leathers Fashion Design Awards Competition - Wellington Fashion Week - Facebook link here

- Indigenous Runway Project - Australia and NZ - link here to website - here for facebook

- Pohutukawa Festival Wearable Arts Show - link here

- Art n Tartan Wearable Arts Awars - link here or facebook page

- Creative Fibre National Festival - Fashion Fibre and Fun  - link here and their blog link here and website here

- Totally Thames Wearable Arts Show - Facebook link here

- Pin'd Creative Showcase - Website here - and Facebook here (was Global Connexions)


In addition to fashion design competitions think about entering your local

- Racedays Fashion In The Field


and other shows such as

- Tarnished Frocks and Divas - link here

- Schools Trash to Fash show - link here

- Young Designer Awards - link here

- Bernina Events - link here

- Brother Design Stars schools competition - link here


HETTANZ - the Home Economics and Technology Teachers Association of NZ - run competitions for school students yearly also - link here


or other fun competitions like

- Miss Cadaver (the undead) - Check out the Facebook page : Miss Cadaver 2015

or you could volunteer to dress your local

- Miss Universe NZ Teen or Miss NZ contestants


Hong Kong

Eco-chic Design Awards - Link here



Red Carpet Green Dress - an amazing and clever eco-fashion idea by Suzy Amis Cameron - Link here

VPleat Ninja Student Design Competition - details on my Facebook page



Mini - Bright Rays Competition - link here

Virgin Australian Melbourne Fashion Festival - not a competition but a show - website here


Other/ International

Hat Talk - Hat making competition - link to website here


What's New

8 May 2017 Update


It's been a while since I have posted, and I have been keeping myself very busy -  I am still teaching design on the degree course, and this semester I have some wonderful international students at post-graduate level studying towards the Diploma in Creative Entrepreneurship, majoring in Fashion.  It's really interesting seeing the blending of cultures and how this translates to design, and helping them in their creative process towards their goals.

I have also been constantly updating the website - there are lots of new videos in response to student demand - the students on the course I teach use the website as course curriculum and their feedback has enabled things to grow and get better and better for their personal learning outcomes.

I have also decided now to start making downloadable pdf sewing patterns so watch out for new pdf sewing pattern releases.  They will appear on the website at the bottom, and all new releases are discounted for new release - calculated automatically so there is no need for discount codes.  You will need to checkback often to make sure you don't miss out on these deals.

There is also a Facebook group for the patterns - join for pattern hack advice and exclusive member discounts.

So many ideas and there are not enough hours in the day!

I love my job.