The Starving Artists Fund presents The Independent Show. Photos / Michelle Abraham

Starving Artists Fund's Digital Showcase Is A Vital Part Of Our Fashion Industry

A new vanguard of multidisciplinary fashion designers place collaboration and support at the heart of its this independent showcase

Every fashion industry around the world has its designers and communities that challenge the status quo through their chosen practice. For local multidisciplinary fashion designer and creative Natasha Ovely, being able to channel these ideas into her Tāmaki Makaurau-based fashion label Starving Artists Fund and connect with other designers who don't have the privilege of money and resource behind them like some of their contemporaries, is a chance to prove that a strong community and progressive ideas are important now more than ever in a time where the local fashion industry feels disconnected.

Designs from Hams Studio. Photos / Michelle Abraham

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Known for its socially conscious, gender-neutral and inclusive designs, Natasha's intersectional approach to fashion is one that encourages individuality and self-expression, and for her latest project - pulling together an independent collective group show that celebrated similarly minded creatives and designers - was a chance to do something for the communities she values the most.

Designs from Nicole Van Vuuren. Photos / Michelle Abraham

"The show has been in the making for the last eight months, originally planned as a live show and was delayed by lockdown and the rescheduled date, unfortunately, coincided with the peak of Omicron, which made us pivot to digital" explains Natasha.

Designs from Jenny Ruan. Photos / Michelle Abraham

With the original aim of presenting before New Zealand Fashion Week in 2021, the radical concept joins a rich alumnus of designers over the years who have presented independent fashion shows off-site and off the NZFW schedule (often late into the night), including Kristine Crabb of the now-defunct Miss Crabb and James Dobson of Jimmy D. Such showcases offer a perspective that is integral to fostering a more inclusive industry.

Designs from Su Mar the Label. Photos / Michelle Abraham

"We plan to make this an annual (live) event that allows us to showcase the best of emerging talent in a collaborative format," says Natasha. "This year, each designer collaborated with a DJ to come up with a set for their show based on the concept and the garments."

READ: Starving Artists Fund Designer Natasha Ovely Is A Creative Force

The Independent Show aims to break down the hierarchy and politics that can come from traditional fashion show formats.

Designs from Rhayna. Photos / Michelle Abraham

"It is a challenge to the existing format of runway shows and presents a fresh perspective while making it open to the general public. No red tape, no hierarchy, and no sitting still."

Designs from Starving Artists Fund. Photos / Michelle Abraham

Filmed at Satya Chai Bazaar, the showcase puts the spotlight on designers joining Starving Artists Fund including some of the most exciting names in New Zealand fashion including Kerry Brack, Su Mar the Label, Hams Studio, Rhyana, Nicole Van Vuuren and Jenny Ruan.

Designs from Kerry Brack. Photos / Michelle Abraham

Modelling the designs are a mix of friends and muses including mother/daughter tapa artist duo Tui Emma Gillies and Sulieti Fieme’a Burrows (MNZM) and dancer Hoani Jacobs-Lawson.

Watch: Starving Artists Fund presents The Independent Show below:


Designers: Kerry Brack, Su Mar the Label, Hams Studio, Rhyana, Nicole Van Vuuren, Starving Artists Fund, Jenny Ruan

Music: Vercetti, Ellay W, ngaru

Dressers: Saana Wilson, Nicola Kueh, Alyssa Marie Pilbrow

Models: Alex Buitrago, Ada Manaia, Charlene Rivett, Kahu Wiki Hemi Macgregor-Renata, Eleanor Eva Oxley, Imogen Alana, Phoebe Richter, Cori Haagh, Hoani Jacobs-Lawson, Euan Reilly, Rawiri Te Ahiwaru Witehira McRae, Reimarie Tutana Te Whau George-McRae, Tui Emma Gillies, Sulieti Fieme’a Burrows, Michel B, Monique Huot-Keo, CaitlinTreweek, Elise Li

Makeup artists: Talullah McLean, Sha Marie, Clara Lima, Aleksis Ray, Aroha McDonald

Videographers/Photographers: Chris Antonio, Luke Park, Michelle Abraham (YellowLines Media)

Special thanks to: Satya Chai Lounge & Sammy Akuthota, DB Breweries, Nirvana, Chloe Manickum, Nick Shirtcliffe, The Cork crew

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