Misty Ratima and Massey Williams are two of three Māori designers who are taking part in the inaugural Project Runway NZ. 

Ratima, who took out Miromoda’s supreme award this year, says viewers will be in for the usual highs and lows of a competition.

“You can expect to see a lot of times of pressure, a lot of creative outpourings. You’re going to see some people lose it, you are going to see some pretty funny, hilarious stuff.”

Williams, whose streetwear business is based in Christchurch, says competing in front of cameras took it to another level.

“It's so so intense, designing under pressure, and then with cameras. So, you imagine it, but when you’re actually in it. It's a whole different kettle.”

Despite the immense pressure, Ratima says they’re relishing the opportunity to represent, not only for their whānau, but for the next generation of Māori designers.

“I think it's going to be really cool for my own tamariki to see me, and I think it's going to be really cool for up and coming generations to see a wahine Māori, a tāne Māori on mainstream television doing fashion designing, of all things.”

And they’re looking to break some stereotypes on the way. 

“Coming from Christchurch; it’s very, very, very small,” says Williams. “There were no Polynesian Māori designers, and everyone who did it were gay, so everyone assumed I was gay, like, literally assumed I was gay when I started designing.”

“We are so stereotyped as to who is a fashion designer and who is not,” says Ratima. “Having Māori designers, like ourselves, just come out in the open and just be seen on television it's like ‘oh, so there are other types of designers’. You don't have to be in this stereotypical box of a ‘designer’.”

The show kicks off on October 1.

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