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Character Design Brings Creative Challenge

The opportunity arose in Materials Technology to design, develop and construct a costume for Disney’s The Lion King JR, which will be performed by Woodford House and Lindisfarne College in August. Working for a client with a strict budget and time frame as well as the chance to publicly display my designs are rare opportunities and challenges that I was keen to accept.


Firstly, I was given a brief to complete a gazelle costume with a design that could be replicated for other gazelle characters in the chorus. Transforming the gazelle’s build and features onto a human figure was a challenge, but with a creative mind my ideas fulfilled my intentions. I completed my research on gazelles and began generating ideas. These were developed into conceptual drawings, which were shown to the director.

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I felt as though my first design was the best but it all comes down to the client’s needs and tastes. Once designs are approved, the construction begins; which is perhaps the most challenging aspect. The dyeing, painting and felting starts and the practical aspect of the subject kicks in.

Mrs Pam Knight, Head of Technology, said the headwear designs for the gazelles required working with an expert and the students have been very fortunate to engage the services of expert felter Ellen Michela-Looij.

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Soon it will be time for fittings and alterations and then the excitement of full dress rehearsals with bright lights and music. Then the curtains will raise and my original work will be on display for the public to see.

Throughout this project there are many different skills, and not only practical, that I will learn and develop in order to produce a successful garment. Time management is essential followed by budget planning, especially when working for someone other than yourself. But perhaps the most important aspect and skill I have developed so far is a new way of thinking and taking different approaches to design that I was too afraid to take in the past.

Many technology students do not have the opportunity to design for a public show and to gain real fashion design experience working for a client on a big project. I cannot wait to see my own designs come to life on a stage in front of an audience.

Caitlin Maiorana, Year 12


Woodford House and Lindisfarne College present Disney’s The Lion King JR from 11-14 August 2016. To purchase tickets go to www.imthere.co.nz/event

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