Event spurs aim to ‘help put Gore on fashion map’

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Gore fashion designer Luke Dawson is just back from New Zealand Fashion Week in Auckland and is already setting his sights on building a manufacturing business in the area.

The 27-year-old has been awarded a Mataura Licensing Trust scholarship of $2000 for two years.

He was grateful for the scholarship, he said.

“I’m very, very appreciative of it,” he said.

“My aim is to help put Gore on the fashion map.

“Having clothing made in New Zealand is a huge eye-catcher in fashion, so why not make it even better and have it made in Gore?”

Being invited to showcase his winter 2018 collection at New Zealand Fashion Week was a great opportunity to get the label “out there” and make valuable connections.

“After being in Auckland, it was clear to me that coming from Gore was a huge advantage and to continue to use it as part of my clothing label since Gore isn’t really known for fashion.”

The bigger picture for his company, Luke Dawson Ltd, was to eventually set up a clothing manufacturing business in Gore “where I can take on other designers from around Southland who are just out of study or interested in fashion”, he said.

He wanted to give them “the skills to eventually run their own business while working on my Luke Dawson clothing range”.

He described his designs as trendy unisex board streetwear, heavily influenced by board sports, the ’90s and his love of comics.

“The Boy from Goreville” was his first collection and had been heavily influenced by his own life, he said.

Fashion Week to introduce my ‘The Boy from Goreville’ collection, and I had amazing feedback and everyone said they could see what direction I was heading.

“It showed that Gore does have fashion style.”

He was known at fashion week as “the Gore boy”, he said.

Mr Dawson hoped to attend fashion week again next year.

He was working on a business plan, he said.

Equipment such as screenprinting equipment was expensive.

He also employed a machinist.

“It’s quite an expensive industry to be getting into.”

Mr Dawson would like to buy the necessary equipment.

The Community Trust of Southland granted him $5000, which paid for his entry in fashion week.