Wellington CBD, Wednesday - 8:11 pm: At the third floor of The Lido building, 'Creation Station', I find Kate Diana Spencer (real name) in the middle of filming for a promo video for the upcoming runway show she's putting on with her team 'Project Fashion' (FREE this Sunday at Te Papa at 2pm). In what I thought would be typical fashion style, I am running late. Her team, however, has finished early. Despite this mix-up, in the words of Tim Gunn, we 'make it work'. Sitting down together, I talk about Project Fashion, wearing many hats and what's hot & what's not in her books!
Kate Spencer is a self-professed 'slashie'. She is the project lead of 'Project Fashion'/ co-owner of the 'Creation Station' workspace/ a single mother/ cleaner/business student/owner of 'Moonlight Kingdom' aka 'Linen Atelier'. So what is Project Fashion Wellington is a 16-week incubator course where 6 designers have been creating a capsule collection at July 9th Te Papa (funded by the Arts and Culture Fund of Wellington City Council). Think of it like 'Project Runway' "...but no one gets kicked off!" "Basically, I've had a fashion company since I was 18" explains Kate. "I've made a lot of mistakes and I've learnt a lot, with the help of my mentors. I'm passing this knowledge on to the next generation of designers."
Through 16 weeks, the students of Project Fashion (also co-led by Wellington legend, Sue Bowerman) have their own mentors, go through business courses and social media courses and, generally, learn the ropes. Most are fresh out of design school. Kate knows Project Fashion will have turned them into practical, customer-focused fashion entrepreneurs. "At the end, the students come out with a line that is ready to sell to the public" explains Kate, still buzzing despite working all hours to make the event happen. "There is a gap between fashion school and real life. They don't have the machinery. They sew on domestic sewing machines. An assignment at university doesn't mean they know how to make a whole collection. This is what Project Fashion is all about."
Along with an incredible team that involves glorious fashionista Jaye Glam Morgan, PR Emma Hart, Adrianne Marsh, the Head Designer from Kowtow, Angela Newson (patternmaker at Sally Eagle Bridal), Sophie from David Jones/formerly Zambesi and Anthony Gunn, marketing genius, Kate has tirelessly developed the talent that will show this Sunday 9th July. "They know so much more now! Heaps of it is trying to develop a business mind as well as well as a creative mind." On Sunday, attendees will be treated to a highly professional show that Kate hopes will change people's minds, steering them away from fast fashion towards buying Wellington made. "We are also having a public display space which is popping up in the Public Trust building on Lambton Quay. All the designers will be working there, taking orders, and running workshops. It is to help people understand who made their clothes and to stop them buying a $9 pair of jeans!"
KATE SPENCER'S GUIDE TO WHAT'S HOT & WHAT'S NOT
Whitney Can I be me
Wellington on a Plate
Black polar fleece
When you have resting bitch face and people ask if you're having a good time.
Photos by Me. Photos of students/design boards by Bex McGill.