September 27, 2015
The supreme garment in the 2015 Henty Natural Fibre Fashion Awards almost didn’t make it for judging.
Deniliquin designer Jane Frazer had entered the fluted wool denim dress with a lace bodice in the Australian Wool Awards and arrived in the nick of time on the opening day of the field days.
The outfit was capably modelled on the catwalk by sixteen-year-old Billabong High School student Phoebe Crilly.
Boasting $3500 in prizemoney, the 12th Henty Natural Fibre Fashion Awards showcased designers who have created garments containing at least 70 per cent natural fibres.
Open to amateurs and professionals, the awards recognise the innovative use of natural fibres – from paddock to catwalk – in creative but wearable clothing.
Awards organiser Lyn Jacobsen said the event drew more than 70 entries, including the first international entries from New Zealand designer Laurel Judd.
Laurel’s stunning race wear ensemble of dress, matching jacket and accessories in earthy tones, was a finalist in the supreme award.
On the judging panel was textile and manufacturing consultant David Tester, of Albury, former Wagga Golden Gowns winner Colleen Smith and Wagga textile designer and retailer Mandy Inglis.
Compere was Anna Dennis, of Collingullie.
Jane Frazer, a previous winner of the supreme award at Henty, created her outfit from fabric collected over the years.
“It was lovely news as it was such an effort to get the garment there,’’ she said.
“I’m a bit of a bower bird and have many stashes for making outfits
“I bought the lace for the bodice in England in 1998 while the pure wool fluted skirt was made from coat fabric.’’
Ms Frazer, who works at Deniliquin’s Peppin Heritage Centre, is already planning to enter the 2016 awards and encouraging other regional designers to do so.
Year 10 students at Culcairn’s Billabong High School modelled the garments, with hair styling by Wendy Percy and Belinda Piffero, and makeup by Ellen Humbert, Arbonne, Table Top.
Mrs Jacobsen said the awards had lifted the profile of many young fashion designers since their inception in 2004.
She said competition was particularly tough this year, with many designers showing flair and innovation.
“I wish to thank the models and all those working behind the scenes,’’ Mrs Jacobsen said.
Wodonga Institute of TAFE student Maureen Hines took home a Bernina Activa 125 sewing machine (donated by Bernina and Julia’s Fabric Boutique) as an encouragement award for the best garment by a student designer.
Amy Wilson, of Corowa, won $500 for the best accessory, a felted wrap featuring a wattle motif and modelled by Ally Schulz, 15, of Culcairn.
Wodonga designer Natalie Ratcliffe, 24, won $500 for the best knitted or crocheted garment, a crocheted cotton wedding dress originally made for her own wedding, and modelled by Nakita Singe, 16, of Culcairn.
A nurse, Natalie has been designing for the past five years and won the crocheted and knitted category at first attempt.
It took her seven months to make the gown for own wedding two years ago.
“It’s a real privilege to be recognised for my work,’’ Natalie said.
Di Pellizzer, of Woolloomooloo, NSW, received $500 as the winner of the millinery award.