Richmond Creative Fibre Group's Janie Hall models the group's entry into the Runway Challenge to be held in Christchurch later this month. Photo: Simon Bloomberg

Fibre group collaborates for fashion project

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The Richmond Creative Fibre Group has put their abundant combined talents together to create a modern medieval garment titled Innocentia for the Fashion Group Runway Challenge in Christchurch starting on Thursday.

The Challenge is based on the popular television series Project Runway with a focus on creating garments using regionally-sourced materials and using traditional spinning, weaving, felting and embroidering skills. Last week, the Richmond group gave their entry into the competition a test run modelling the outfit at their clubrooms in Birch Hall and group member Janie Hall says they were delighted with Innocentia.

Janie says they had to enter a garment with a modern medieval theme and designed and created a felted sleeveless jacket with a high collar, a flared woven skirt and a pair of spun gloves. All of the group’s 65 members had an input into the design with about 15 directly involved in making the garment.

“We initially thought it would be quite easy to design because it had to be a medieval theme and we thought we’d just Google medieval garments and see what came up,” Janie says. “But it turned out that modern medieval is a new fashion altogether so we had come up with something completely different.”

Janie says the group’s felters Gillian Dickson and June Holland produced two types of felt using  fine merino fleece and silk fabric which, after dyeing, became the jacket. The weavers Julia Murbach, Esmae Emerson and Sue Baskett dyed fine wool and silk yarns prior to weaving them into fabric for the skirt, blouse and cumberbund – all fitting and garment construction was done by the group’s seamstresses Gillian and Julia.

One of the group’s spinners Pam Sandoe created the fine soft wool which a knitter Shona Fleming made into the gauntlets while Sandy Arcus handcrafted a pendant  from paua shell.

Janie says Innocentia features modern touches, including an embroidered mobile phone pouch and braid made by Margaret York, Ruth Lewis and Janie.

World of Wearable Arts hairdresser Cherie McIntyre also helped out designing a  hairstyle for Innocentia.

Petra Stolz-Baskett provided expertise as modelling consultant and Wynn Goldie donated a custom-built stand for the display.