Rotorua-based designer Kharl WiRepa is paving the way for Maori fashion. WiRepa's eponymous label, Kharl WiRepa Fashion, has been selected as one of Vogue’s top 22 ‘Designers of the Future’ in the latest issue of British Vogue. Not only did WiRepa make it to the coveted "Fashion Bible", but even landed the September Issue. "I saw the photo of my dress in the issue of Vogue and then it hit me, and then I realized that this is real," WiRepa said of his achievement.
This recognition has been a long time coming. Back in 2015, Vogue US specifically requested for an invitation to his show at New Zealand Fashion Week. "Vogue emailed asking to be seated front row at my show as they were excited to see New Zealand evening wear (which is rare in NZ)," he said. "I see for the future that the Pacific will definitely have a huge influence on the modern world of the next generation of fashion." Being the first Maori fashion house to be printed in the pages of Vogue, WiRepa considers this achievement a milestone for him as a designer and an historic moment for Maori Culture.