All-Star Panel To Judge Young Kiwi Talent

3 July 2017, 10:19PM

This year’s youth talent search, Brother Design Stars, will be expertly judged by leading fashion and craft pacesetters, helping to give back to the next generation of young creatives.

Otago Fashion Polytechnic’s Fashion Professor Margo Barton, COOP designer Abby Holland and master crafter Fifi Colston complete the star judging panel.

Brother Design Stars gives young, budding fashion designers and creative artists the outlet to showcase their talent and creativity through this year’s theme of ‘Steal the Show’. Now in its fourth year, the awards encourage youth in school years 7 to 13 to enter one of two categories (fashion and craft) for the chance to see their design on the runway at New Zealand Fashion week as part of The Graduate Show supported by Brother.

Brother International (NZ) is committed to providing an outlet to foster creativity amongst New Zealand youth. This year’s judges have been carefully hand-picked to reflect this vision and support the aim to inspire young Kiwis to design, create and sew.

Dunedin based fashion heavy-hitter, Margo Barton, has dedicated her career to educating the next generation of fashion designers and creatives.

“There is nothing more I love than seeing Kiwis explore their creativity at such a young age so being a part of a competition that encourages that is very exciting.”

“I’m honoured and thrilled to be able to share my knowledge, advice and industry perspective with this next generation of passionate fashion designers and creative artists,” Barton says.

In 2016, Otago Fashion Polytechnic was the only New Zealand institution to be ranked in the top 50 Global Fashion School Rankings in the world, for their undergraduate fashion degree.

“Last year at NZFW I saw first-hand what it meant to these young winners showing alongside some of the best fashion students across New Zealand. The opportunity to be a part of New Zealand’s leading fashion event is huge and will give them a taste of what could potentially be a university subject or career option.”
Margo is joined by Trelise Cooper’s design assistant and designer of COOP, Abby Holland, who will judge the Brother Design Stars Fashion Award category.

As a young up and coming designer herself, Holland applauds a competition that recognises the importance for kids to get stuck into craft and fashion at a young age.

“Throughout my teenage years I was always interested in fashion. To the point where it became my only focus at school and I was working on textile work in classes I shouldn’t have been. Let’s just say my other teachers weren’t too impressed.

“I wish Brother Design Stars was around in my time!” Holland adds.

Fifi Colston is a seasoned Brother Design Stars judge with four years on the panel under her belt and has seen huge development in the awards over the years.

“Every year I am amazed by the talent I see. There has been a huge cultural shift in this area. People are now interested in DIY and making their own and we see this coming through with young students. Upcycling and sustainability is cool again, and I’m all for it!” Colston says.

Registrations for Brother Design Stars are now open and will close on Friday 7 July with all physical entries received for judging by 5pm Friday 14 July, 2017. Winners will be announced in August ahead of their showcase at NZFW.

Young creative artists and designers in school years 7 – 13 can register for Brother Design Stars at