Misty Ratima
40, Napier

Wanting to be pushed out of her comfort zone, mum-of-four Misty applied for Project Runway.

Taking influence from her Māori culture, Misty feels the story behind the design is key to relating to your audience. She sees fashion as an outlet of expression and identity.

Although the first garment she created at Intermediate (an apron) was a disaster and she decided she hated sewing, Misty came back around to the idea of being a designer and has now created garments that have been worn by Anika Moa.

What did you do to prepare for Project Runway?

Over the weeks leading up to Project Runway New Zealand, I binge watched many of my favourite American seasons. I also read lots of books, did some research on past, current and emerging designers. I also tested my own skill ability, revised, changed, learnt and practiced. But one can never really be fully prepared for an opportunity like this!

What made you want to become a designer?

I never really liked what I saw on the racks in stores. As a teenager, I was either too poor to buy the few things I did like, or I wasn’t inspired by anything I saw. My grandmother and mother were particularly strong figures in my family and were always so well dressed no matter the occasion. It was their sense of style that made them stand out from everyone else.

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

My day to day personal style is generally based on the mood I’m in! If I was to define my own personal style, it would be street and the many interpretations that has! My design aesthetic would be considered the same. I like the idea of unisex streetwear, where women can look sexy in men’s garments that are an oversized look for her. I like to mix print, pattern and texture all the time. Imagery or portraiture has played a part in collections since I started.

How would your friends / family describe you?

My friends and family would describe me as loving, kind and a little bit quirky. They’d also say that I’m highly ambitious and an extremely hard worker who doesn’t mince words or waste time!

Do you have a fashion label?

My fashion label is TE KOHU. It’s the Māori translation of my English name Misty