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Source: Eastern Institute of Technology – Tairāwhiti

11 mins ago

Learning about sustainable practices and helping save the world have been a focus for a Gisborne upcycled fashion designer.  

Katie Clinnick has a passion for upcycled clothing – she scours the second-hand shops for clothing and linen to breathe new life into.  

Each discarded item is transformed into a new design, helping with the world’s burden of fast fashion. 

Second to oil, the clothing and textile industry is the largest polluter in the world.   

Figures from the Ministry for the Environment show in New Zealand one hundred million kilograms of textile waste goes to landfill.  

Katie, commonly known as KT  Pi, began studying in 2018 when she completed level three and four art and design at EIT Tairāwhiti.  

 She went on to do most of her diploma in fashion last year, completing it this year.  

Whilst studying the diploma she has been building her own sustainable fashion brand KT Pi under her existing business In Your Element.   

“I had heard about the course and needed to upskill myself – especially on the digital side. The first course covers all design and creative mediums.” 

“The course gave me a truckload of confidence with design and my ability to promote myself online and take better photos.”  

Leading up to 2018, Katie was doing some upcycled work creating handbags out of vinyl records and car inner tubes.   

Ongoing has been her range of crystal and Mala bead jewellery 

“I chose this course to take my upcycled passion further and I wanted to be able to sew better.”  

Everything has more than met her expectations.  

“Doing the courses has been amazing – I don’t want it to end. EIT have been so supportive which is great as I am a single mum as well.”  

The arrival of the pandemic Covid 19 and subsequent five week lockdown became the inspiration for Katie to complete a fashion collection to finish the course requirements.   

Among her completed clothing are two denim creations, one with flower patterns made from patchwork, another with colourful men’s ties sewed in on an angle.  There are also a number of shirts made from vintage floral and patterned sheets.   

“I love working with the sheets – they are of quality material and come in so many different patterns.”  

Each garment is named for a different level of lockdown with one – Quarantine’s Tail – inspired by the arrival of a fantail into her bubble. She had heard from others that this was an experience many had during lockdown.  

The collection is called Oxytocin.   

“For the feel-good hormone we all missed out on because of the lack of hugging with social distancing.”  

Now that study is complete, Katie intends to work on her business and let it evolve.  

“I need to catch my breath from study and work on my online platform.”  

Katie has seen recent growth in demand for upcycled clothing alongside increased climate change awareness and the need for people to change.  

“I avoid buying anything new … I am seeing the upcycle movement taking off with the all the pollution in the world. It is exciting.” 

For more information about the art and design certificate and diploma in fashion programmes, go to Art & Design Level 4 or call into the front office in Palmerston Road. Its not too late to enrol