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Naturally Fashionable

Fashion, Fashion and Design
image Ari Terehova

When  Ōtautahi local Ari Terekhova was announced as the supreme winner at last year’s Hokonui Fashion Awards, she had already left the ceremony, not believing for a moment she would take out the top prize.

“I had no idea,” she says. “I realised that the awards are the top non-professional designer awards in New Zealand and I just did not expect to win that award!”

Her three-piece collection wowed the judges with her blend of silks and wool – but Ari believes it was her use of natural dyes that really impressed.

“I’m thrilled the natural dyes are shining through – and capturing peoples imagination. The collection itself is named Urban Forager and I call myself a professional urban forager. I’m originally from Siberia and we have to forage there to live, not just because it’s fashionable.”
Ari has always sewed her own clothes, but became interested in sourcing natural dyes after she arrived in New Zealand.

She says she remembers her grandmother utilising foraged materials and she drew on that for inspiration – as well as the landscape around her.

“I didn’t invent the method,” she says “but my colour pallet is only from New Zealand. Lots of golds, purples and oranges. There are so many colours here. Hagley Park is ever changing. I print with windfall leaves – the sycamore with its intricate lace design – is a great example of the beauty in nature.”

And if you’re thinking Tye Dye or Hippy chic – Ari says  – Think again.

“Natural dye can be very elegant. that’s what I was trying to showcase with my collection. It doesn’t have to be hippy-ish – it can be very contemporary and stylish.”

Ari, who is an architect by trade, has no plans to start her takeover of the high fashion world – “I’m happy slowly developing” – but she is passionate about the qualities of her eco dyes.

“It’s not all about making money. It’s about thinking about our resources and treating them with respect. Looking after our water resources, thinking about what happens to the dyes we throw away when they’re synthetic. It’s about education and realising there are so many windfall things we can use that have a better effect.”


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