Fashion designers can have a series of lightbulb moments on their journey to creative success – moments that inspire or ignite ideas. For Pirongia based designer, Alecia Kana, it began after a mishap with her senior high school ball gown. “I’d hired a seamstress to construct a ball gown for my formal and the end product was very disappointing,” says Alecia. “I decided not to wear it as it didn’t come close to what I’d envisioned in my mind.”
Up until then Alecia had been considering a career in graphic art design, but the ball gown disaster inspired her to consider fashion design. Although she fell pregnant before leaving high school, Alecia was undeterred and went on to study Media Art at Polytech.
“After the birth of my eldest daughter in 2009 I began a career as a low-profile fashion stylist for family and friends,” says Alecia. “My passion for fashion grew which initially led to me starting an online boutique importing and selling dresses.”
Always industrious and motivated, Alecia gained a diploma in Small Business Enterprise and hosted her first fashion show in 2012. She also partially completed Diploma in Fashion Design when she was blessed with a second daughter.
“Being a Mama and full-figured woman carrying children, I know how much of an effect it can have on our bodies and the changes we can go through,” says Alecia. “I aim to design easy to wear mid to high-end fashion garments that are timeless, effortlessly flattering on any woman and can be worn multiple times in multiple ways.”
In 2016 Alecia launched her plus size clothing and mother/daughter looks and more recently, her fashion label ‘AKANA’.
“The majority of my garments are classic flattering silhouettes or cuts with unique detailing that tells a story,” explains Alecia. “I love natural colours and fibres and earthy palettes that I believe look great on any woman. At times I also like to play with bright vibrant colours and bold yet classy statement jewellery.”
Alecia says she’s looking forward to showcasing her latest collection called ‘TAI KI TAI’ at this year’s Pacific Fusion Fashion Show. The news that she’d been accepted into the show came as she was in hospital in early labour with her son.
“I was overwhelmed and grateful to be selected alongside a high calibre of local and international designers,” says Alecia.
“TAI KI TAI is a reference to the west and east coasts of Aotearoa, environments which have inspired colour tones of black, charcoal and grey as well as nude creams and white with hints of gold.”
Reflecting on her future goals, Alecia adds: “I hope this show will help to market my label to a wider national and international audience, attract high profile and consistent clientele and open up more opportunities for my label.”