Culture on the catwalk

Trailblazing paths for Maori/Pacifika

Trailblazing paths for Maori/Pacifika

AN HONOUR: Erica Ransfield hopes more opportunities for Maori and Pacifika people will come from the exciting opportunity she and six other New Zealand women have been given to walk the runways of San Francisco Fashion Week in America this month. Picture supplied

Erica Ransfield has been doing her housework in six-inch heels because in less than two weeks she flies to America to walk the runway at San Francisco Fashion Week.

It is a huge honour, says the former Gisborne girl.

Miss Ransfield, 23, studied fashion at EIT Tairawhiti in 2014 and now lives and works in Tauranga as a personal assistant for an architecture firm.

She found out two weeks ago she had been chosen to walk the runway at San Francisco Fashion Week.

Modelling had never been part of her life plan until her cousin tagged her in a Facebook post four months ago. It was for a project called Nga Ahuatanga o Te Taiao created by Niketa Brown, who wanted to photograph seven young Maori and Pacific Island women to represent each element — wind, earth, water, fire, spirit, darkness and the stars.

Miss Ransfield was cast to represent Earth.

That was exciting enough, then Ms Brown realised the potential in these young women so started a modelling agency called Ataahua Models, with all seven on the books.

The agency captured a niche market with its focus on Maori and Pacific Island models.

On a whim, Ms Brown forwarded the profiles of her new models to the organisers of the New York and San Francisco Fashion Week shows.

Organisers of both shows said yes.

“They were intrigued by our look. They have never seen Maori or Pacific island beauty on the world stage before.”

‘The hardest part is walking in six-inch heels’

The organisers said they would take all the models for their fashion shows and let go four of the other models to make way.

Half of the group, including Miss Ransfield, fly to San Franciso on September 19. The other half are already in New York, walking the runway for the fashion industry’s big names.

It has been a crash course for Miss Ransfield, who has never modelled before.

“We had a runway coach take us through how to walk on a runway and walk in high heels.

“The hardest part is walking in six-inch heels.

“The runway coach said don’t even think about it . . . just practise, practise, practise.

“It’s hard because I have an office job sitting down all day, so I have been wearing them at home while doing housework.”

San Francisco Fashion Week 2018’s theme is Bridging The Fashion Gap — combining fashion and technology, nurturing emerging talents and highlighting international fashion designers.

It costs a few thousand dollars to get there, so Miss Ransfield’s family in Gisborne are organising a fundraising quiz night for Saturday, September 15.

Miss Ransfield is excited about the opportunity.

“We are honoured to be chosen to represent our culture and to trail-blaze paths for our people, so they too can have access to opportunities like this.

“I hope this journey empowers Maori and Pacifika people.Their beauty deserves to be seen just as much as any other race or culture involved in these huge events.”

  • The quiz night for Erica is at the RSA in Childers Road this Saturday. Doors open at 3pm, the quiz starts at 4pm and should finish at around 8pm. Cost is $60 per team of six. For more information or to book your team, contact Andrea Mill at avhb13@hotmail.co.nz or phone 027-257-8780.

Erica Ransfield has been doing her housework in six-inch heels because in less than two weeks she flies to America to walk the runway at San Francisco Fashion Week.

It is a huge honour, says the former Gisborne girl.

Miss Ransfield, 23, studied fashion at EIT Tairawhiti in 2014 and now lives and works in Tauranga as a personal assistant for an architecture firm.

She found out two weeks ago she had been chosen to walk the runway at San Francisco Fashion Week.

Modelling had never been part of her life plan until her cousin tagged her in a Facebook post four months ago. It was for a project called Nga Ahuatanga o Te Taiao created by Niketa Brown, who wanted to photograph seven young Maori and Pacific Island women to represent each element — wind, earth, water, fire, spirit, darkness and the stars.

Miss Ransfield was cast to represent Earth.

That was exciting enough, then Ms Brown realised the potential in these young women so started a modelling agency called Ataahua Models, with all seven on the books.

The agency captured a niche market with its focus on Maori and Pacific Island models.

On a whim, Ms Brown forwarded the profiles of her new models to the organisers of the New York and San Francisco Fashion Week shows.

Organisers of both shows said yes.

“They were intrigued by our look. They have never seen Maori or Pacific island beauty on the world stage before.”

‘The hardest part is walking in six-inch heels’

The organisers said they would take all the models for their fashion shows and let go four of the other models to make way.

Half of the group, including Miss Ransfield, fly to San Franciso on September 19. The other half are already in New York, walking the runway for the fashion industry’s big names.

It has been a crash course for Miss Ransfield, who has never modelled before.

“We had a runway coach take us through how to walk on a runway and walk in high heels.

“The hardest part is walking in six-inch heels.

“The runway coach said don’t even think about it . . . just practise, practise, practise.

“It’s hard because I have an office job sitting down all day, so I have been wearing them at home while doing housework.”

San Francisco Fashion Week 2018’s theme is Bridging The Fashion Gap — combining fashion and technology, nurturing emerging talents and highlighting international fashion designers.

It costs a few thousand dollars to get there, so Miss Ransfield’s family in Gisborne are organising a fundraising quiz night for Saturday, September 15.

Miss Ransfield is excited about the opportunity.

“We are honoured to be chosen to represent our culture and to trail-blaze paths for our people, so they too can have access to opportunities like this.

“I hope this journey empowers Maori and Pacifika people.Their beauty deserves to be seen just as much as any other race or culture involved in these huge events.”

  • The quiz night for Erica is at the RSA in Childers Road this Saturday. Doors open at 3pm, the quiz starts at 4pm and should finish at around 8pm. Cost is $60 per team of six. For more information or to book your team, contact Andrea Mill at avhb13@hotmail.co.nz or phone 027-257-8780.
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Tom test Tom test - 14 days ago
This is great for her and to see the opportunities happening for these young ladies but I believe there are already Maori and Pacific models from Gisborne doing indigenous modelling shows around the world. One has just recently returned from Melbourne Indigenous Fashion Week showing off the fashions of a number of Maori and Pacific fashion designers. Just putting it out there

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