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Fashionistas . . . Kate Smaill (left) and Esta Downing display their outfits. PHOTO: GUS PATTERSON

Two Waitaki Girls’ High School pupils have taken their designs from the classroom to the catwalk.

Outfits created by Esta Downing (17) and Kate Smaill (18) were entered in the Hokonui Fashion Design Awards’ nightlife category, open to school pupils.

For Esta and Kate, attending the awards was the highlight of their textiles studies at school. The year 13 pupils have both taken the subject since year 9.

Kate’s Ode to Disco, inspired by a love for frills, earned her a merit award and fourth place out of 34 entries in the section.

She intends to study a bachelor of design degree in fashion at Otago Polytechnic next year and has her sights set on a career in the fashion industry.

Esta said she wanted her dress, A Long White Cloud, to be “cloud-like and floaty, so it had this movement when it was walked down the catwalk”.

The standard of the outfits in the school section was high, she said.

After leaving school, Esta plans to study dance, and said lessons from textiles classes would come in handy when creating costumes.

“It is definitely my favourite subject, just because it is so creative and I get to make what I want,” Esta said.

The finished garments took about six weeks to complete, including some late nights.

Waitaki Girls’ High School head of technology Bronwyn Gillies, who attended the awards with the girls, said it was the second year her pupils had entered.

“We don’t push them but we encourage them to.

“It is a big show and Hokonui is one of the only ones which has a section for school pupils.”

Esta and Kate thanked Ms Gillies for the extra time and effort she had put into supporting them and said it would not have been possible without her.

Both designs will be sent to the Otago Polytechnic for Celebrate, a fashion design competition open to school pupils in the Otago region.

The garments will be on display at the polytech between August 20 and 29, then returned to their designers and repurposed for their wardrobes.