Kerry Ranginui
33, Whangarei
pattern maker

Kerry left Whanganui 10 years ago (with no money and a car filled with clothes) to head to Auckland and fulfil his dream of working in fashion.

His move came at the peak of the 2008 recession, but instead of giving up and moving home, he painted fences and cleaned swimming pools. Kerry also spent six years on a dairy farm just outside the city, before landing the perfect role: working with Karen Walker as a pattern maker.

What made you want to become a designer?

Growing up in a small town there weren’t many places to buy clothes. Because I couldn’t find what I wanted, I had to learn how to make my own clothing. I taught myself to sew by watching my mother—I was amazed by what you could do with fabric.

How would you describe your personal style and your design aesthetic?

Clean, quirky and experimental with silhouettes and never afraid of a print! I love that fashion challenges people’s perspectives of masculinity and femininity. I wear a lot of clothes intended for women.

What are your design strengths and weaknesses?

I have 10 years’ experience in the fashion industry, so I have seen and done a lot in that time. That being said, I’d consider my strength to be my confidence when it comes to designing something new and exciting. However, this can sometimes be a challenge as I hate to repeat designs. To date, I have worked on 30 collections for Karen Walker, so I’m always fascinated by new and upcoming trends!

What was the first garment you ever made?

I used to make little dresses for dolls when I was younger. In primary school there was a wooden gas station with trucks for the boys and a huge wooden doll house for the girls. I always preferred hanging with the girls and dressing the dolls up. I got a lot of flack at school for playing with Barbies and did not expect it to ever be my full-time job.

What is your point of difference as a designer?

I’m from a menswear background, so I think that designing womenswear from a masculine perspective is fun. Womenswear is also very strong and powerful when taken from a male silhouette.