Southland meat worker Luke Dawson makes his NZ Fashion Week debut this year with his streetwear collection The Boy From Goreville.
It’ll be the second time 27-year-old Dawson has shown his clothing designs, which he says are the canvas for the art form closest to his heart – comics.
Dawson started at the Silver Fern Farms freezing works, Waitane at 16.
He says he’s learnt a good work ethic there, and they’ve been supportive of him coming and going while he studied 3D animation in Dunedin.
“People bad-mouth it, but it’s been very educational.”
His comic character The Boy from Goreville, which inspired the clothing collection, is based on his own life growing up in Gore and studying in Dunedin.
“Yeah, so I’ve got a few tales.”
Dawson says he's been into comics all of his life.
“I’m a huge fan of Batman’s animated series from the 1990s and Loony Toons. Bugs Bunny is my main go and Mickey Mouse, of course.”
The dream is to eventually create merchandise and an animated TV series around The Boy From Goreville character, he says.
Dawson got his '90s-influenced streetwear range into NZ Fashion Week after the director Janey Evett came to Gore to judge the Hokonui Fashion Design Awards.
A friend suggested Dawson show Evett his stuff, so they had a coffee at his dad’s café – and she signed him on.
“It was pretty crazy, I was like ‘Oh my god’.
Recent shoulder surgery has added a degree of challenge to preparing the collection, Dawson says.
“While I’ve been doing all this, getting it ready, I’ve actually been down and out with a wing. So it’s been a pretty crazy time. I’ve fluked it. ‘Flukey Lukey’ you could say.”
Dawson’s own decision not to reveal his collection before fashion week is adding to the nerves, he says.
“People might go ‘Oh, my god. That’s hideous’. But hopefully not.”