September 23, 2010

Designer Profile | Amber Bridgman

Earlier this week, I decided to branch out and feature four Maori designers – their work is truly amazing and aesthetically inspiring. This is the last profile, though I hope to feature more in the future. Amber Bridgman is the head designer and director of Kahuwai, a fashion company that produces clothing for all age groups. In fact, it was her adorable baby bibs that made me want to feature her on this site.

Designer Profile | Amber Bridgman
Kahuwai is a fashion label that is Māori owned and operated in the South Island of Aotearoa. Kahuwai provides a blend of unique pieces of Māori inspired clothing and textiles for babies, toddlers, children, women and men.

Head designer Amber Bridgman comes from a diverse and creative background.

She has produced, presented and directed within television, radio and film. Maori traditional arts have always been at the foundation of her inspiration throughout her working life and with her designs. She is very proud of her Maori heritage and is an active part of the Maori community.

“As a mother of twins boys, I searched far and wide to find clothing that for babies and toddlers that wasn’t mass produced or made in China, branded with tacky carton motifs and was affordable, after all buying for two soon adds up.”

Thus, after the arrival of twin boys, the idea for Kahuwai was also born.

About her fashion company’s vision, she explained:

We are on the verge of an exciting new era in Aotearoa where by our cultural identity is being defined and lifted to something we are proud of, finally the time has come where our unique cultural art form found only in this part of the Pacific, is ready to adorn the people of the world.

Kahuwai looks to the past to bring our living forms and vibrant language into the present, forefront of the fashion world. It is not just beautiful and bold designs but the essence and spirit to uplift the wearer to inspire them and teach others.

Kahuwai aims is to transform our clothing into original pieces that echo from the teachings of our ancestors, through whaaktauki (proverbs) and moko (designs) Through a high quality and totally unique Maori fashion product including clothing for babies, toddlers and adults and a range of accessories and home-wares.

We at Kahuwai think and believe fashion and spirit go hand in hand, and an expression of one selves and essential to express positive and conscious fashion designs from this strong foundation which is Maori mahi toi.

The History of Kahuwai goes back thousands of years ago to where the artist’s ancestors were weavers and artists in the field of Maori mahi toi (Maori arts and crafts). This was their way of life and survival; it is with that and my love for Maori mahi toi that I carry those skills as a traditional weaver and artist into my label Kahuwai, through a celebration of things Maori and to honor my tipuna.

Visit the Kahuwai website for more information.