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Back view ... Debbie Smith's rain bow of colours displayed as Hope Imlach walks the catwalk. PHOTO: JENNY DILLNER

Creating garments with a deeper meaning helps drive Waimumu’s Debbie Smith.

Smith won the Rainbow of Colour section of the Art Couture NZ awards with her entry, The Key to Beauty. All her garments have a deeper meaning, she said.

Art Couture NZ’s wearable arts competition sees students and adults from throughout the country showcase their skills and creativity in garments of art worn on the human form.

Her butterfly-inspired outfit was dedicated to her sister Amanda.

“I dedicated it to my sister because she is beautiful on the outside but she was going through a real hard time in her life. I wanted people to take a look behind the beauty to see what is beneath.”

People were always shaped by their own personal journey’s Smith said,

“And a process that helps us to achieve true inner and outer beauty.

“In life we judge beauty. We don’t realise that the key to beauty may have been moulded through a trial of darkness, growth and loneliness,” she said.

from a second-hand shop. It provided the perfect framework for the finished product.

More than 100 vintage car keys were sewn into the bodice, and the dyed wings of the butterfly were from another dress Smith bought second-hand.

“Each garment I make I put a little piece of my heart into it.

“Bringing new life to forgotten fabrics is always fun and motivates me to use them to their full potential.

“I have learnt valuable lessons while designing my garments. I design my garments to a standard that I feel tells a story, and one that has fulfilled my expectations.

“I believe being creative isn’t something you become, it is a process we learn and develop over time.”

“To be able to tell a story and connect with people through design is so important to me.

To see people have an emotional response was very rewarding, Smith said.