Sara Munro was a special guest judge this year at the 2019 MLT Hokonui Fashion Design Awards. Munro had been asked in the past to judge but was unable to due to balancing New Zealand Fashion Week and her young son. “I didn’t want to not be able to give it my full attention,” Munro was happy to take up the opportunity this year. “I love seeing the imagination and creativity of emerging designers particularly at the pre-tertiary level.” Munro has her own label Company Of Strangers based in Auckland. A highlight of her Hokonui experience was seeing so many passion projects and people who design without the constraint of commercial viability. “I also heard that it’s a really fun weekend from friends who have been, and it was!”

The secondary school entries blew Munro’s mind. “The technical ability of such young students but also the creative use of especially the recycled section. I particularly loved the Bayfield High School sports uniform dress and the tent cape.”

Munro also opened a pop-up shop in the middle of Gore during the event. Open on the Friday and Saturday only, it was in a well-known pop-up shop site. A few carloads and two team members later, Company Of Strangers was set up in Gore. “The pop up was fantastic we got to meet a lot of our out of town clients that we usually deal with on the phone or online, so it was lovely to put faces to names,” she said. “We also got to meet a lot of new customers and they loved that we came to them for a change.”