Year Four Fashion Design student Nicole Wesseling was recently selected as part of the New Zealand Fashion Museum’s Elle and the Youthquake exhibition Pop-Up Shop, alongside other new designers. Original designs from Nicole’s collections Zen and Vincent were on display and available for purchase at Nathan Gallery in Britomart from 27 September until 19 October.
Nicole was in primary school when she first learned to use her Dutch “Oma’s” (grandmother) sewing machine. She and her two older sisters would frequent their grandparents’ home in South Auckland and go through the “craft cupboard” which was full of crafty objects and supplies her grandmother gathered from garage sales. Nicole remembers particularly being fond of fabric paint and “was taught to knit before she could sew.” Her interest carried on throughout high school. During this time, she won the 2009 Newmarket Young Fashion Designer Award, which included a one-year scholarship to Whitecliffe and a trip to New York City to work with Karen Walker. She tells us further about her life experience:
Her fashion beginnings
“I studied Soft Textiles Technology from the age of 11 until I left high school. Marist College was where I was introduced to pattern making which is still an aspect of design that I am particularly interested in. My teacher, Ms. Roy, allowed me to explore creative possibilities within fashion. It was in my final year of high school when I became interested in the environmental impact of clothing production and the importance of knowing all steps of production, right down to the growing of a cottonseed. I remember creating clothing made from recycled ties and tea towels.”
On studying at Whitecliffe
“There’s a lot to learn during four years of study at a Fine Arts college. The diversity of subjects including Art History, Sustainability and Photography has helped me to develop as a creative. Fashion-based subjects have provided me with practical knowledge of business structure and technical skills required for the industry. I have particularly been interested in exploring alternatives to traditional pattern making. Our HOD Belinda Watt has been a major influence on my own work and has encouraged me to be experimental and to explore sustainability.”
Pop-Up Shop experience
“I’m very privileged to have the opportunity to showcase and sell my work in the Youthquake Exhibition and to be alongside so many other young creatives. I think as a young designer, it is important to maintain a point of difference, to excite viewers and customers and to challenge their views on sustainability within the fashion industry.”
To see more of Nicole’s designs, please visit her Facebook page.