Abbey McMaster, Southern Institute of Technology

Having recently taken out the Young Designer award for her entry in the Nightlife section at the Hokonui Fashion Design Awards, Abbey McMaster is slightly stunned but very happy with the result of her hours of sewing.

The Hokonui Fashion Design Awards, held in Gore, Southland, attract designers from all over, making her win all the sweeter as McMaster is a local Southland girl. Studying a Bachelor of Fashion Design and Technology at Southern Institute of Technology (SIT) in Invercargill, McMaster loves the south and is hoping to be making gowns for people and their special events in Southland in the future.

Holding herself to high standards, every garment she makes is competition-worthy. Her inspiration didn’t come in any one form, but she credits a small obsession with couture designer Elie Saab and flowers somehow seem to come through in all her work. “I’m not sure what inspired me mainly, but I have had this design in my mind for a very long time,” said McMaster.

The euphoria of the win is not just about the 150 hours McMaster spent sewing the garment, she appreciates the fact that other people love the gown as much as she does and is glad she entered. “It is such an amazing competition, and it’s great that it’s local for me.”

Looking to the future, she will definitely keep sewing and making gowns. “Hopefully it will lead to something, at the moment the doors are wide open.”