|Fibre Artist & Fashion Designer, Shona Tawhiao|
Shona Tawhiao is a fibre artist and designer trained in traditional Maori weaving techniques and methods. Tawhiao designs and creates garments entirely made of native flax or Harakeke complete with matching accessories such as hats and shoes. The key distinguishing factor between Tawhiao and other Pasifika Fashion Haute Couture designers is her strict use of native flax to create her unique haute couture designs. Unlike other designers, Tawhiao mixes traditional Maori weaving skills with her eye for contemporary design. Tawhiao has exhibited extensively with her style of woven art, has produced TV sets for the Maori Television Service worked in art and costume departments for films 'Maori Merchant of Venice' and 'River Queen' among others. She has been producing award winning woven garments where she has developed techniques and designs that are unique to her aspirations of Maori culture and other indigenous nations.
Tawhiao's Haute Couture collection 'Te Whiri' under her label 'TAWHIAO' is inspired by her fascination with Japan’s Harajuku girls and is influence by her interest in Maori, Japanese and Roman warriors.
"My collection is inspired by traditional warrior wear, Samurai, Roman, the Masai, and Maori of course. It's totally military warrior woman meets marching girl. --Shona Tawhiao
She goes on further to state that, "Everything Japanese is inspirational to me. How an indigenous culture creates a subculture, I think is really cool. Maori don't have that yet."
Her pieces are definitely in a class of their own. Her pure usage of flax is truly fashion forward and innovative in creating such great peplum shapes, distinct clean lines, and movement. Tawhiao’s pieces flow with grace and dignity in a very similar fashion to the warriors that she draws so much inspiration.
*Photo Credit: Shona Tawhiao
Check out my favorite pieces from Shona's collections: