Kiwi fashion designer puts personal touch into work

Hip Hop Hollywood 26/09/2016

The best in home-grown Maori fashion and design will on Saturday night be showcased at the Tiki Ahua fashion extravaganza in Rotorua.

Newshub met one of the designers, who cares so much about his customers he includes a tag in his clothing, urging them to give him a call for business advice or even just a chat.

Tauranga fashion designer Ranui Samuels has put the finishing touches to his first full collection, hand distressing a hoodie using a switchblade.

"I want to make a product that people love," he says. "I want to make a product that makes people feel good."

Samuels first created his label, Rise, more than a decade ago, while living with his wife in the UK.

"I designed a screen-printing press. I got a friend of mine who was a welder to weld the whole thing up. I built all the necessary things required to run a screen-print studio but I made them all myself."

His resourcefulness is undoubtedly due to his basic upbringing in the highlands of Papua New Guinea.

"We grew up without electricity. We grew up without running water. We didn't have flushing toilets. My mum cooked everything on a wood stove."

He says it was that lifestyle that helped shape the man he is today - a hard-working father of four who recently completed a business degree while working four separate jobs.

He wants others to know they can follow their dreams too.

"I want people to understand that they're not limited; they're not limited by the circumstances that surround them."

He's so passionate he's even designed a care tag for his clothing, encouraging his customers to get in touch.

"We're not counsellors by any means, but what we had was an opportunity to encourage them to get the right help, talk to parents, talk to guidance counsellors."

Eventually he wants to partner with a mental health organisation to better help those in need.