Hi, my name is Aroha

It’s late 2016, I’m folding washing and watching a Netflix special I’d stumbled upon in my very own ‘folding washing + watching Netflix’ marathon. The True Cost by Andrew Morgan had me in all kinds of emotions, a documentary about the clothes we wear, the people who make them and the impact the fashion industry has on our environment, on our world. I don’t even think I finished folding the mountainous pile of washing, pretty ironic considering the theme of the special.

It was at that moment I decided to do something, anything. I didn’t know what it looked like at that point, I just knew if I didn’t move on that intuitive thought, I’d live to regret it.

Four months later, I enrolled in a patternmaking + design course at Melbourne Fashion Institute. I was also working as a wardrobe assistant for Indigenous Runway Project – a not-for-profit platform that works with indigenous youth and provides experience within the fashion industry – I took the role very seriously. During the length of my course, I was able to work with some pretty amazing mentors - Tina Waru, Lisa Ceruto, Karen Jeffreys, Eugenia Tsmilkis and the highly creative, Blair Archibald. They wouldn't know it but they have helped me search out and find my placement in the industry x

In March of this year, I was lucky enough to showcase an experimental collection at Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival, definitely a forever highlight for me. Mum of three, wife of one 😉, taxi service for my kids lol, business owner – it seems silly now but at that point, I never thought I’d get the chance in my lifetime to put out creativity on such a well-respected platform.

The bits from then till now look a little something like this:

  • hubby and I continued to run our transport business
  • we expanded the business workload
  • we reduced the business workload
  • showcased collections in Melbourne, New Zealand and New York
  • sold our family home
  • travelled extensively as a family
  • sold the transport business
  • started two new businesses, my label included, and have other initiatives on the rise

Now, I am committed more than ever to establish myself as an aspiring sustainable designer, provide useful industry specific information, help those where I can, inspire those who hear me.

It’s been an ugly, beautiful mess of a journey, but if not for that moment in 2016, I wouldn't have even begun doing what I am doing now.

I te taha o tōku māmā
Ko Te Tāpui te marae
Ko Ngāti Kura te hapu
Ko Ngā Puhi te iwi
Ko Waimirirangi tōku māmā

I te taha o tōku pāpā
Ko Hinemihi te marae
Ko Tūhourangi te hapu
Ko Te Arawa te iwi
Ko Ropata Whatanui tōku pāpā

Ko Aroha Waimirirangi ahau

[English translation]