WoolOn Fashion

The iconic WoolOn Fashion Event has burst back into life on New Zealand’s fashion calendar, having just completed three successful days of fashion, fun, learning, and of course, all things wool.

WoolOn 2021 attracted a skill level and put on a show that judge and creator of Touch Yarns Marnie Kelly commented was on par with any other high quality fashion event across New Zealand.

“We all felt the workmanship was really excellent, the creativity was out of this world and the designs were stunning,” she says.

Supreme Award winner Simone Montgomery from Port Chalmers says she never expected to win.

Not a professional designer, it is simply a passion for her, she says.

Simone says her inspiration was contemporary Japanese designers who play with structure and non-structure.

“My concept was safety on the streets, that’s why I made it to convert to a sleeping bag.

WoolOn judge and professor of fashion at Otago Polytechnic Dr Margo Barton says it was exciting the 2021 Supreme Award winner was a relative newcomer on the fashion scene.

“Seeing her success, and that of other first-time entrants might inspire someone else to have the confidence to enter themselves,” she says.

The Supreme Award First Runner Up was Charlotte Hurley from Alexandra with her design made from old hospital blankets, ‘From Ward to Wine’.

WoolOn Fashion
WoolOn 2021 Supreme Award winner ‘Safety Dance’ by Simone Montgomery was a streetwear ensemble of shirt, trousers, cape, bonnet and bralette. Photo Mary Hinsen

The Supreme Award Second Runner Up was Laurel Judd of Napier with her design ‘Tokyo’.

WoolOn Fashion
WoolOn 2021 Schools Award winner ‘Rewa Rewa’ by Maddie Wellbrock of Masterton. Photo Mary Hinsen

Laurel won the Handcrafted, Accessories and Avant Garde categories, and she received the Technique award.

WoolOn 2021 saw an award given for the best entry from a school student from across all categories. The Schools Award winner was Maddie Wellbrock of Masterton, with her ensemble ‘Rewa Rewa’.

The Mata-Au award for cultural interpretation was awarded to 7-year-old Alexandra Primary School student Sophia Hinsen with ‘Cold and Hot’, a cross-body bag she had needle felted herself.

The judges all encouraged designers to keep learning, keep trying, and keep entering.

Chair of the WoolOn governance committee Mrs Mary Hinsen says putting on the event had been a leap of faith, but the result had surpassed all expectations.

“It’s been a huge team effort,” she says.

“We couldn’t have done it without our hard-working committee, amazing community, designers, sponsors and everyone who helped make WoolOn 2021 such a success.”