Indigenous | Art

Fashion designer joins whānau for paraikete exhibition

Fashion stalwart and Māori designer Jeanine Clarkin is making waves in the fashion and arts world with her upcoming exhibition this weekend alongside NOA Blankets and Mataaho Collective in Paraikete Threads at Pātaka Art.

Clarkin, (Ngāti Hako, Ngāti Pāoa, Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāti Raukawa) may be best known for her young urban Māori New Zealand streetwear in the 1990s, is venturing on her next pathway in bringing the creation and style of blankets to the forefront.

Clarkin says when the opportunity arose to show her pre-existing work with paraikete (blankets), she said yes immediately, especially because it was a collaboration.

“What I really appreciated about this collaboration is that we all have hononga to Tauranga Moana though I have yet to meet my whanaunga from NOA Blanket&co but I have met some of amy whānau from Mataaho.

“I thought it was a great way to connect and showcase our work with one another as whanaunga.”

Clarkin’s impact extends beyond the runway, with collaborations ranging from high-end luxury brands to accessible fashion lines. Her ability to cater to a broad audience while maintaining a distinct design identity has contributed to her widespread popularity.

Clarkin says although she’s no stranger in incorporating blanket threads into her fashion pieces, she has designed new looks more relatable to the time.

“I really wanted to embrace the period and vibrancy of Toitū Te Tiriti, so it was a good opportunity to update on my activism wear. So I have a patched up a men’s blazer, and a patched up women’s blazer.

“After witnessing the government thinking they had a right to tell people how to dress, I got really motivated.

“When I attended all the national hui of late, I noticed how people have been ‘interacting’ with their blankets and not only using them as a korowai (cloak) but as an extension of their daily clothing.”

Pātaka art gallery curator and supporter Ioana Gordon-Smith is a great admirer of all three designers and is looking forward to the exhibition.

“Blankets, especially in te ao Māori, blankets play such an important role in our lives. We all had that one scratchy tartan or that one tiger face-printed velvet blanket. We all had a garment that was an extension of a memory,

“From an indigenous perspective, we hope people attending the exhibition will recognise the contemporary knowledge of these garments, and the story they tell.”

Te Rito