The winner of this year’s Attitude Entrepreneur Award says receiving the accolade was like ‘magic’.
Cruze Kapa is deaf but has refused to let his disability dampen his ambition of being a fashion designer or starting his own self-titled clothing label CRUZE.
Cruze’s achievements were recognised at the Attitude Awards in Auckland on Wednesday night.
“I was very emotional once I received it – it was just like magic,” Cruze told Te Karere.
Cruze is the first recipient to win this award with a hearing impairment.
“It just blew me away."
Despite the challenges he’s faced, Kapa is determined to reach his goals in the fashion world.
“I’ve always loved fashion designing and I want to make my own clothing and use my hands, my mind and use my sense of fashion, that’s where I become stronger.
“I want to keep designing more clothing in Aotearoa.”
Hailing from Whangarēi and growing up in Gisborne, Cruze is inspired by his whānau and Māori culture.
“Thinking about the environment and the colour palette I have done research in traditional Māori designs, but I just want it to become more modern.
“I’ve been developing and making more designs in Māori and also I am wanting to give more deaf young people to work with me.”
Cruze hopes his story will inspire other young people within the deaf community.
“I know who I am today, and I know what I want to do – I want to become a fashion designer.”
Next stop for Cruze will be Vancouver Fashion Week where he’ll showcase his collections.