Sheetol Chawla says receiving the top prize at a prestigious fashion competition would not have been possible without the guidance of AUT’s School of Art and Design.
From among 188 entries, the third-year Bachelor of Design in Fashion Design student won the Mackersy Property Collections Award, before going on to win the Supreme Award of Excellence at the annual Hokonui Fashion Design Awards, taking home a total prize package worth nearly $18,000.
Sheetol says she is grateful for the support of AUT Senior Lecturers Andreas Mikellis, Lisa McEwan and Lyle Reilly, Lecturer Leica Johnson, and Senior Technician Galina Joukova.
“Their consistent feedback over the past three years really stimulated me to enhance my technical and design skills, made me much more aware of the importance of concept and has given me and my goals a new dimension,” she says.
The awards, which took place at the end of July, were judged by fashion designers Rachel Easting and Anjali Burnett of twenty-seven names, Huffer’s Steve Dunstan, and Juliette Hogan.
Steve Dunstan said Sheetol’s work was well balanced and constructed, with a high level of finishing.
“There were a lot of designs that shone but this was a level above the rest, it was quite an obvious choice,” he said.
Sheetol, who is originally from Delhi in India, says the collection, called ‘Humanity Wrapped in Spirituality’, is inspired by her own spirituality, her culture and the work of some of the world’s truly innovative fashion designers.
Each item in the collection is sculpted with layers, folds and draping, creating something visually striking and almost mesmerising for the viewer.
“That was my main intention - I wanted to create something meditative, something that draws you in, that you can focus on,” Sheetol says.
Studying fashion has always been a dream for Sheetol, who previously worked as an interior designer.
After graduation, she hopes to pursue a career in high-end fashion, creating one-off garments that blur the line between clothing and art.