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Auckland Museum Applied Arts Collection of Printed Textiles
is an Auckland fashion label with an emphasis on street wear. Workshop designer
Chris Cherry's personal commitment to New Zealand art has resulted in collaborations
with New Zealand artists on a regular basis.
The three garments in the Museum's collection are from the early 1990s; the artists are Louise Fong, John Reynolds and Maori tattoo artist and designer Te Rangitu Netana. (Nga Puhi, Ngati Wai).
The Louise Fong dress from Summer 1994 features the artist's strong monochromatic images printed on to Tyvec. This is a manmade fabric used in the building and safety clothing industries that Workshop was experimenting with at the time. It was a small range comprising a dress, shirt and zip up jacket.
John Reynolds anti nuclear T-shirt from September 1995 was a tongue-in-cheek treatment of a series of socio-political issues. Reynolds also provided commissioned works for the Corbans Fashion show of 1992 and for the opening of Workshop's flagship store in Newmarket. The latter included 3 works; a large mural painted onto a brickwall, a 1.5m x 2m work carved into a plaster panel and a free standing 2m x 3m 'blackboard'.
Te Rangitu Netana was commissioned to create a series of graphic images based around his artistic interpretation of classic Maori symbols and motifs. The original work created the illusion of tattoos on clothing and was first used in the Workshop men's collection at the 1998 Australian Fashion Week. The success of this led to its further development and use on the border print shirt, Workshop Denim T-Shirts and tanks and in the Helen Cherry collection. Commercially, this was a very successful collaboration.
Workshop continues to work with local artists to develop distinct and original prints for their collections. The summer 2002 collections showcased works including further collaboration with Dennis Blair with his 'Blue Maiden' print, John Pule's graphic poetry, graffiti artist Enuake Sirikage's Flower prints and designer Stephen Green's 'Tiki'.
These developments stem as much from a respect for these artist and the enjoyment of the collaborative creative process, as a desire to offer commercially viable alternative product. All these garments and the continuing developments are sold primarily in our own stores and selected outlets throughout New Zealand and Australia.
Chris Snell, RCM Clothing, July 2002.