Phoebe Lee, Otago Polytechnic

This free-spirited designer is committed to following a career of self-expression. “Growing up, I loved to be creative with art, decoration and dressing up. It felt right to express myself through these things and to challenge what can be done with creativity and inspiration,” related Phoebe Lee. Her brand, Dream Love Thrive Create, combine’s the emerging designer's unique style, attitude and approach to creativity. It is the mode she uses to express herself.

Lee’s graduate collection included five looks, each with their own unique quirks which encapsulate the emerging designer’s unique creative energy. “My favourite garment in the collection is a printed bomber style jacket,” she confessed. “I had the fabric digitally printed, full of many different illustrations that accumulated through my student workbooks and personal sketchbook. Each illustration was bursting with its own idea, making the jacket thrive with an array of visuals.” The collection combined different creative techniques including painting, pattern, patchwork and layering to create a complex and highly conceptual presentation which demonstrated Lee’s appreciation for each outlet. “My collection is based on my passionate need to create and is basically a big exploration of self-expression. My brand celebrates uniqueness and is made to inspire wearers and onlookers to dream, love, thrive and create.”

To bring her creative vision to life, Lee pulled from a range of inspirations. “I am inspired by a lot of things. My own feelings and experiences play a big part in how I design, as I want to create quirky items that play against conformity and make you feel good,” she asserted. Lee also drew inspiration from like-minded designers such as Jeremy Scotts, who made her realise that style and expression are more than just beauty. “Manish Aroad’s designs also inspired my dreams of idealisation, romanticism and fantasy worlds.”