Inspired by Uniforms of Revolutionaries, 23 year-old wins Coveted Fashion Title

MEDIA RELEASE: Emerging fashion talent Michael Day (Ngāti Kuri) will receive the 2020 winner’s prize for Resene Colour of Fashion on Thursday 3 December.

Michael will hear the news as the Whitecliffe Fashion Show opens with an array of colour.

At 7pm all Auckland designs will appear on the runway at the Auckland Town Hall, led by the winner.

2020’s winner, Michael Day, will be presented with a prize gifted by Resene: a sewing machine, pair of engraved shears and fabric vouchers, with a total value of $1000.

Reflecting on judging day, Michael said: “I was full of good nerves. Nerves keep you pushing. I was looking forward to getting some feedback from the judges.”

The young designer takes military style elements like cargo pockets and silhouettes from clothes worn by revolutionaries into his designs; details that were evident in the Pakuranga fashion graduate’s winning design.

Beyond black, purple is Michael’s favourite colour. He was pleased to open his randomly selected brown paper bag to find silk fabric in Resene Belladonna, when the project began in March.

Expect the name Michael Day to make an impact in streetwear design in the future, after a head-start as winner of Resene Colour of Fashion with Whitecliffe Fashion Tech in 2020.

The Backstory

In any normal year the Resene Colour of Fashion designs would open four Resene Designer Runway shows at New Zealand Fashion Week.

Like light through a prism, sixteen models would grace the gate. They would step onto the runway wearing the season’s newest Resene colours, head to toe.

But 2020 is no normal year.

After Covid-19 caused the country’s 20th New Zealand Fashion Week to be cancelled, the project needed to find another way to help launch the careers of this year’s batch of fashion industry recruits.

Instead, the 2020 Resene Colour of Fashion collection will debut on the runway in front of an audience of industry leaders, the young designers themselves, their tutors, family and friends at the 2020 Whitecliffe Fashion Shows in Auckland and Wellington.

The first show will be held at the Auckland Town Hall on Thursday 3 December and the second at Pipitea Marae in Thorndon Quay, Wellington, on Friday 4 December.

In addition, the sixteen finalists’ garments will appear on posters, giving a splash of colour to Auckland and Wellington streets this summer.

The 2020 Resene Colour of Fashion finalists are:


  • Bowie Boonram
  • Lucy Zhao
  • Michael Day
  • Davina Fernandes
  • Lesieli Tonga
  • Kim Talava Keil
  • Sa Nay Ma
  • Fatima Rozi
  • Zoe Patterson


  • Javier Aranas
  • Natacha Wendt
  • Sjaan Hopman
  • Kelly McCullough
  • Jessica Edwards
  • Tahlia Pratt
  • Kate Tillard

The 2020 brief asked students to follow the design theme New Beginnings. It read: ‘bring the positive emotion you felt as we emerged out of lockdown to your design; moving out of darkness into light; entering a slower, kinder, gentler, lighter world; appreciating connection with others; and looking towards brighter days ahead.’

Tutors said the students found the project cathartic. The process of recalling their lockdown experiences released a flood of feelings that were sewn, pinned, pleated, embroidered and shaped into their garments, responding well to the theme.

For some students, it was less than five years ago that their sewing ability extended to mending rips in school uniforms, making a mat for the kettle or crafting a door snake to stop winter draughts.

Next month, 25 fashion students graduating with a Diploma in Apparel and Fashion Technology from Whitecliffe Fashion Tech, will showcase the high quality of their fashion design and construction skills to the industry.

In seven years of the Resene Colour of Fashion project more than 200 students of fashion have been given a highly visible platform in the fashion industry on the strength of this partnership between New Zealand’s leading paint and fashion education companies.

In 2020 Dame Pieter Stewart, founder of New Zealand Fashion Week, joined the judging panel with New Zealand Fashion Museum curator Doris de Pont, founder of NZ Fashion Tech (now Whitecliffe Fashion Tech), Val Marshall-Smith and Resene marketing manager Karen Warman.

The judges agreed that these garments were the finest examples of high quality design and construction the Resene Colour of Fashion project had seen in seven years.

Karen Warman of Resene says: “With the challenges of 2020 and without New Zealand Fashion Week as a showcase, we’re pleased we forged ahead after postponing twice.

“Every year we love seeing creative young people immerse themselves in their Resene colour and produce a stunning look. This year their work combined new elements: a new brief, their Resene colour, their lockdown experience, their fashion inspiration, the people who have influenced them most in their lives and the guidance of their talented tutors at Whitecliffe.”

Whitecliffe Chairman Feroz Ali says: “We treasure the long-standing partnership with Resene. Each year, the Resene Colour of Fashion project offers an incredible opportunity for Whitecliffe Fashion Tech students to showcase their skills to industry, family and friends.”


Released by Resene and Whitecliffe Fashion Tech

For information contact Sally Elton, Elton PR, Ph. 09 486 5256 / 0274 980 568; Email

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