Lissy Cole // I LOVE LISSY
Born and raised in Auckland, Lissy and her seven sisters are the daughters of noted New Zealand fashion designer, Colin Cole. Also Ngāti Hine and Ngāti Kahu proud, Lissy was bought up in a household of creative, passionate, intellectual and expressive people. Through her strong paternal bond, she started sewing at a young age. At 15, the grief of losing her father changed her life profoundly; gaining weight, Lissy started to design and sew clothes that reflected her own sense of style and circumstances.
In 2011, Lissy launched her new clothing label, I Love Lissy with its initial line of mumu or t-shirt dresses, shrugs and accessories. I Love Lissy is the product of 25 years of sewing and designing, meeting and connecting with customers and always reflecting the designer’s values of living a colourful, bold, passionate and expressive life.
I Love Lissy is a fun and vibrant brand steeped in a serious agenda to enable plus-size women to feel fabulous in their own skin and resist the temptation to hide away in black.
Follow the I Love Lissy blog for regularly updated insights into Melissa’s inspirations and ideas, links to events and TradeMe listings!
Rachael Duval // RAMADU
Of Samoan, Māori and European descent, Rachael Duval has been designing her own clothes since she was a teenager. Her design journey started in response to the lack of options for plus-size clothing; she started to create her own looks and has since completed a Diploma of Fashion Technology through New Zealand Fashion Tech.
Hip hop and R&B music, punk and goth influences shaped her style growing up in Mangere, South Auckland in the 1990s. The collection showcased at True South from Rachael’s newly established label, RAMADU, represents inspiration from female hip-hop artists Aaliyah and TLC – models of strong, independent women with fierce individual style.
Passionate about serving and celebrating the plus-size market, Rachael advocates for the need for the fashion industry to realise the prevalence of this underappreciated and underserviced market. Working part-time in plus-size retail, she understands intimately the rare and sincere sense of satisfaction when clothes look good and fit.
Keep up to date with Rachael’s developments via the RAMADU Facebook page!
Tasha Lee // RASTA LEE CLOTHING
Tasha Lee is a proud South Aucklander with firm roots in Otara. With extensive experience constructing clothing, Tasha established her business in 2007 with two foundation labels: Miss Tasha Lee and Rasta Lee Clothing. Creating clothing that makes women feel confident and beautiful is important, particularly in celebrating curves and plus-size proportions.
Rasta Lee Clothing is founded on a love for reggae music and its heartfelt following here in New Zealand. Red represents blood, that which connects and sustains every human; green represents the earth, and gold represents desired treasures. Tasha likens the celebration of reggae music and culture to that of Pacific and Māori communities where family and community is central. Comfort and versatility is high on the agenda for Rasta Lee Clothing – Tasha emphasises the ease of transitioning her garments from day to night.
With one successful fashion show already under her belt, Tasha is excited to launch her full range for Rasta Lee Clothing as part of True South. Find her on Facebook to keep up to date with events and new designs!
Paula Chan is a renowned fashion designer with over 30 years experience specialising in Polynesian traditional and contemporary design. Infusing a Samoan aesthetic into wedding and evening gowns, Paula is also known for her inspired taupou costumes.
Her impressive portfolio includes garments that have featured in beauty pageants in New Zealand, Australia, United Statesand around the Pacific. Paula also has works in the permanent collections of Te Papa Tongarewa and Auckland Museum.
A veteran of Style Pasifika, Villa Maria Cult Couture and the Benson & Hedges Fashions Awards, Paula’s designs always accentuate the feminine form in all shapes and sizes.
Czarina Wilson has been a regular name on the Pacific competitive fashion circuit since the late 1990s. With awards and recognition for entries in ‘Traditionally Inspired’, ‘Recycled Revolution’, ‘Streetwear’ and ‘Hero’ categories, Czarina has become known for her immaculate handwork and unique and innovative use of weaving and vinyl.
For competition, Czarina creates stunning and bold statement pieces leaning more towards wearable art. In a more functional capacity, she creates gowns and formal wear that emphasise comfort and Pacific references. She held a solo exhibition at Fresh Gallery Otara in 2010 entitled Plastic, exploring the use of man-made materials and vinyl and also the culturally-specific idea of being ‘plastic’.