An Explosion of Fresh Talent @ The Viva Next Gen Show

Tāmaki Makaurau

— September 4, 2023 —

One of the best things about New Zealand Fashion Week is meeting cool new Kiwi brands; even better when we get to go to a group show and meet a whole lot at once.

This year the Viva Next Gen show gave us an explosion of fresh talent and our pal Ruby Hamilton was behind the scenes to capture the action. After the designers had had a moment to catch their breath, we asked them to give us the rundown of their collections. Meet them below...


Name: Nicole van Vuuren
Brand: Nicole van Vuuren (NVV)

Can you give us a quick rundown of your brand for anyone seeing your work for the first time?
Using Streetwear as a medium, Nicole van Vuuren Explores the process of textile repurposing as a subversion of value systems: fabric manipulation is treated as a narrative throughout the collections. Patchworking, splicing, and quilting bind together industry offcuts to create garments that utilise and reframe waste as embellishment.

If Nicole van Vuuren was a:
A colour: A used artist's palette.
A mood: Sleepy
A place: A back alley in the city centre, off the main path, likely littered with rubbish and graffiti.

A food: Salt and Vinegar crisps, a staple comfort food in a slightly controversial flavour, maybe too much for some people.
A song: TwoShell - 'Ghost 2'

Name: Phil Heketoa 
Brand: My brand is LIPO, a nickname my aunts /uncles call me. Short for Philipo. 

If LIPO was:
A colour: It changes regularly. You never know what you're gonna get from me. 
A mood: Strong, confident, fun.
A language: Unapologetic me. Lipo style.
A place: wherever I call home.
A song: Right now it's 'How We Roll' by Ciara and Chris Brown. 

A food: Anything Japanese. 
A famous person:  I'd choose me, best place to start.
A TikTok : Check out lipodesigns on tiktok. It's a small introduction to the designer journey I'm on. 

@lipodesigns Moko💕 #catsoftiktok #family #lipo_designs ##lipodesigner #animalsoftiktok #pacificislanderstiktok #nztiktok #aussietiktok #pacificislanderstiktok #poc #individualcool #catdad #thejourney #happy #gratefulthankfulblessed ♬ original sound - Lipo🌈🇳🇿🇳🇺


Name: Tess McCone
Brand: Su’mar

Can you give us a quick rundown of your brand for anyone who might be seeing your work for the first time? 
Su`mar is an offering of carefully considered pieces designed to lift spirits. Each garment holds its own story, capturing a feeling and transcending the ordinary. Capsule collections and Made-to-Order pieces are produced locally in Auckland following an artistically driven process, with each garment tested of its purpose and how it translates into life. Whimsical drapery, innovative pattern cutting and soft tailoring are key features of the brand, with elements of handcraft unifying fashion and art.

If Su’mar was: 
A colour: Serene blue.
A mood: Dance like no one is watching.
A place: Sunsetting by the ocean.
A song: Remembrance, Sina.
A food: Lollies.


Name: Nicole Hadfield
Brand: Oosterom

Can you give us a quick rundown of your brand for anyone who might be seeing your work for the first time? 
Oosterom is a made-to-order womenswear brand based in Tāmaki Makaurau. With a focus on relaxed tailoring, craftsmanship and comfortable layering, the Oosterom wardrobe is designed to intermingle with each collection. Our creative process is fluid with a focus on using deadstock or organic fabrics in such a way that there is minimal waste. Studio off-cuts are often repurposed into textured detailing on limited edition pieces. Made-to-order means we are able to tailor pieces to fit and only make what is needed, a refined and thoughtful approach to production.

If Oosterom was:
A food: Creme brulee - smooth, sophisticated with a little bite.
A mood: Calm.
A colour: Ivory with a sprinkle of black, although sometimes it's the other way around.
A language: Dutch - the soft melodic dialect rather than the strong throaty one.
A song: Chelsea Jade - 'Personal Best'.
A place: Your favourite quiet restaurant that nobody else knows about.


Name: James Bush
Brand: J.Bush

Can you give us a quick rundown of your brand for anyone who might be seeing your work for the first time?
J.Bush is a fusion of conceptually engineered tailoring and structured, European dressmaking, resulting in beautiful, yet wearable clothes for women in the arts, politics, and business. 

If J. Bush was:
A colour: Caravaggio red
A mood: Power
A language: Love
A place: Villa Necchi Campiglio.
A song: Jeff Buckley’s rendition of 'Dido’s Lament'.

A food: A Canelé.
A famous person: Madame de Staël.
A YouTube video (or a Tiktok): La Belle Époque, 1983 — Featuring Diana Vreeland and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. | From the Vaults. 
Anyone with even a vague interest in fashion should watch this video, it traces the end of one era and the birth of another through art, design and fashion. Looking beyond the decadence, the parallels with today and the birth of the digital era are huge.  


Name: Sandra Tupu
Brand: Flying Fox Clothing

Can you give us a rundown of your brand for anyone who might be seeing your work for the first time?
Flying Fox Clothing is a custom clothing design label creating quality, timeless collections that tell a unique story. Inspired by cultural traditions & perspectives. Well crafted custom made clothing in Aotearoa, serving individuals & performing arts.

This collection is called Afi vao (wildfire in Samoan). When we lived in Victoria, Melbourne, we would take our children camping in the Kinglake area. We have a huge appreciation for the outdoors. A year after the devastating bush fires of Black Saturday 2009 I revisited The Kinglake area and took a photo of the bush that stuck with me and this was what inspired me to create my range Afi vao many years later. This image showed the stark contrast of the black and charred trees with this incredible amount of lush green growth climbing up around them.

After much research into this event I became fascinated by the indigenous traditions and beliefs especially around the ‘Living body’ Bandaiyan of Australia. I was taken by Bruce Pascoe's views of care for the land and wanting to go back to how things were done by indigenous communities. A couple of other books that had an impact on my learnings :  Dreamkeepers - Harvey Arden, My Peoples Dreaming - Max Dulumunmun, National Museum of Australia - defining moments. I also visited the Koorie Heritage Trust in Melbourne where I learnt about the 'International Indigenous Design Charter' that helped guide me through this study. The underlying question that came from my research was ‘How can we live alongside nature in a respectful and more harmonious way ?”

This year I visited the 'The Kinglake Ranges Childrens Centre' to connect and explain my body of mahi (work). I learnt of their dedication to teaching their children about indigenous traditions especially around the Bush and their local terrain. They are currently in the midst of developing an indigenous part to their playground. I wanted to give back to The Kinglake community and I have pledged to give a % of any sales from Afi vao to this centre and Sue (Director) was very happy and said it would go straight to this new playground area.
I also hope for an ongoing connection with the centre including a possible eco-printing workshop for the children. 

A big focus within 'Afi vao' has been to use nature, fire and water to create my fabric eco-prints.
The more I grow as an artist/designer I find myself drawing my inspiration from different cultural perspectives. My own heritage is Samoan and European and I feel very lucky and proud to have been brought up with a very rich diverse cultural background.   

If Flying Fox Clothing was:
A colour: Olive green, representing nature.
A mood: Friendly, homely & relaxed.
A place: Native bush near a river, lake or the ocean. Nature, nature, nature.
A food: Homemade slow-cooked hearty stew.
A song: ‘Turn around’ by Sola Rosa and Iva Lamkum. Encourages one to make positive changes in your life.


Photos: Ruby Hamilton      Feature: Chloe Hill


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