Return to splendour

Nā Anna Brankin


Ngāi Tahu designer Darlene Gore earned a place at New Zealand Fashion Week in August through the Miromoda Competition, established by the Indigenous Māori Fashion Apparel Board to nurture young Māori designers in the early stages of their careers.

Darlene stumbled across design as a young mother searching for a career path, and quickly discovered that she had a knack for it. “I have a passion and I’m lucky to have the skills to interpret it,” she says.

She completed a Diploma in Fashion and Design at Otago Polytechnic in 1994, before going on to work in the fashion industry in various roles, running her own made-to-measure studio, teaching garment construction and pattern-making at Otago Polytechnic, and working for clothing brands Tamahine Knitwear and Adventure Outfitters. More recently, she worked at a Dunedin funeral home and a women’s refuge.

Earlier this year she made the decision to return to the fashion industry and pursue her dream of designing. She entered the Miromoda Competition to see if her ideas were still relevant. She was overwhelmed to be offered the chance to participate in New Zealand Fashion Week as
part of the Miramoda Showcase.

Darlene says her designs are inspired by the elegance and simplicity of French fashion, and draw on her love of suiting and tailoring. Since showing at New Zealand Fashion Week, she has been offered the opportunity to start retailing her designs through Guild, an outlet for Dunedin designers.

Born and raised in Dunedin, Darlene, who affiliates to Arowhenua, still lives in her home city with her partner, Iain, and her two children, Dominic and Stella.