On the 2nd of February 2013 after been tipped off by Local Tour Guide Shaloh Mitchell of Ohinemutu Village Tours, two of Lauryn Hill’s assistants went hunting around Rotorua looking for Local designers to dress Lauryn Hill while she was in Rotorua performing at the Raggamuffin Concert, and came across Maori Fashion Designer Adrienne Whitewood who has a space at the Living Room Collective on Eruera Street.
Adrienne describes her experience with them as “Inspirational that a international star and her team would take the time to Buy Local”.
I was blown away by how her assistants took the time to get to know me and my clothing which is all made and designed here in Rotorua, I thought to myself if somebody of this calibre is making the effort to buy local, our community as consumers need to start taking a conscious effort to look around them and see that we need more of their support in order to keep growing and developing our sustainable businesses in our city.
Adrienne was also invited to watch her show on the Final night of Raggamuffin and was ecstatic to see that Lauryn Hill was wearing her necklace that she gifted Lauryn for the performance. Whitewood said
I wasn’t proud that she was wearing my clothing, I was proud she was wearing my culture”.
The necklace that was designed for her incorporated traditional weaving techniques, and the copper binding contrasted the art of positive and negative space. Adrienne believes Lauryn wore the piece because it also resonated with her own ethnicity and that is the beauty about Maori design it can transcend through any culture yet stay unique because the design principles themselves are so far ahead of their time you could look ahead in 100 years and the artform would still be current.
The best outcome of the experience was when they left her shop “They literally took half of my stock for Lauryn to try on and Lauryn and her most of her team left Rotorua with purchases” Adrienne says “If an international Artist can see the talent in someone so young and small, our town needs to make more of an effort to support small businesses like myself who want to work and stay here in Rotorua, as we literally do live here because we love it.”