Adrienne Whitewood & Ahu
Even though Adrienne Whitewood did not do as well as she wanted to during her last year of school that was not going to stop her living her dream of becoming a fashion designer.
When she found out that she needed better marks to get into Auckland University of Technology to study fashion, she decided to do her last year of school again.
Today, Adrienne has her own fashion store in Rotorua – Ahu Boutique. Her Māori inspired clothing and jewellery is now seen all over the world. ‘Ahu’ means to help grow, nurture, create or fashion in Te Reo. The name ‘Ahu’ is perfect for her business because Adrienne’s designs are helping to grow and nurture the local Rotorua fashion industry.
Adrienne’s clothes are often inspired by the beautiful and courageous Te Arawa heroine Hinemoa. Adrienne used the face of one of Hinemoa’s descendants, Councillor Tania Tapsell, as inspiration for the face of Hinemoa which is found in one of her popular designs.
Adrienne was taught how to sew by her Grandmother and she kept her interest in fashion throughout her schooling at Malfroy Primary, Rotorua Intermediate and then Rotorua Girls' High School.
She takes a keen interest in Pacific design and enjoys talking to, and learning from other designers in the Pacific region.
Adrienne is leading the way for young people who love their culture and want to live in Rotorua, grow business and creativity in the region, but still make their work known all over the world.
More to watch:
See Adrienne talking about collaborating with Te Papa:
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Te Arawa Fibre Arts