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Popular Kiwi Shoe Designer for WoolOn

Cushla Reed - 2018 WoolOn Judge

An Auckland-based shoe designer is expected to bring fresh ideas to the judging table at WoolOn’s creative fashion event next month.

Cushla Reed was one of two new judges confirmed for the competition which runs from August 17 to 19, WoolOn co chairperson Leonie Williamson, said.

Tickets for one of the three WoolOn events were already sold out and nearly 60 entries of woollen fashion items – including a pair of shoes - had been received, she said. The shoes were entered in a new category for wool accessories.

Reed, who created shoe brand, Minx, 18 years ago and also has a clothing label, said she would be looking for entries that showed potential for commercially viability.

“I look for the ability to design with creative solutions for our Kiwi lifestyle that can also be catapulted to the globe.”

She believed wool had a bright future in fashion as more people learnt of its benefits.

“With projects such as WoolOn pushing it to the forefront of designer’s minds it will mean innovation and creation will continue to push the current boundaries of wool as a fashion norm. It’s a privilege to be involved in WoolOn and an opportunity to give back. I’m excited to see the designs and learn more about wool and the industry.”

Kate Wilson, a freelance stylist and photographer who works at New Zealand Merino will also join the judging panel for the first time. Dunedin-based fashion industry academic, Simon Swale, will be returning for his third time on the panel. Highly-experienced in fashion events, design and education, Simon is currently studying for a Masters of Fine Art at the Dunedin School of Art.

Rural broadcaster and Otago Daily Times online director, Dominic George, will be Master of Ceremonies for the August event.

“Like all those attending, I can’t wait to see what the designers have created from one of New Zealand’s premium products,” he said.

The weekend opens with the New World First Look catwalk show on Friday August 17 and winners will be announced at the now sold out Rural Women New Zealand WoolOn Awards the following evening. On Sunday the public can gain insider tips from judges and designers at an Up Close event at Central Stories Museum. Numbers were limited for this gathering, Mrs Williamson said.

In the meantime people could view an exhibition of past winners at Central Stories and during the school holidays children could make their own cardboard catwalk model for free with materials supplied by the museum.

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