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On show . . . Former Timaru designer Lenon Wakuwa's designs were exhibited at New Zealand Fashion Week last week. PHOTO: RONALD WINSTONE

by Greta Yeoman

Just over a year ago, then-Timaru-based designer Lenon Wakuwa was wanting to put on an African-inspired fashion show.

Fast-forward a year and she has starred in Project Runway New Zealand and had her designs on the catwalk of New Zealand Fashion Week last week.

While the Zimbabwe-born designer never got her Timaru show, her friends and family took her bright African-themed designs to the catwalk last Thursday, at the invitation of New Zealand Fashion Week organisers, under the banner of L Walk LTD, an offshoot of her original Adhala Lenzo Creations label.

She said she chose not to use the stereotypically tall, thin models offered by agencies, instead using her diverse friends and family to model the outfits.

“Honestly, that is not the only body shape in the world. People are of different heights and sizes and I wanted real men and women to model my creations.”

The now-Auckland-based designer said she had self-funded the more than $5000 it cost to appear in the fashion event, which she was now paying off through her work at Auckland Airport.

However, she was pleased about how the catwalk appearance had gone.

“My vision coming to life – it truly meant a lot to me.

“Dreams do come true. It just requires a lot of patience and hard work.”