Amy Robinson/Robinson Studios NZ
Unity Collection has débuted a limited-edition resort collection in collaboration with Turet Knüfermann and Jessica Hinerangi (a.k.a. Māori Mermaid). The collection, dubbed Black on Black, comprises black basics in five silhouettes—kimono, sleeveless maxi dress, mini-dress, shirt, and off-the-shoulder top—each with a signature Māori Mermaid artwork.
Unity Collection founder Tania Rupapera explained, ‘It’s what I want to wear: beautifully cut fabric and clothes that I feel good in. Rather than start from scratch, I thought, “Who can I work with and who are my favourite designers?”’ She immediately thought of Knüfermann. Hinerangi also agreed, with Rupapera choosing the Māori Mermaid artwork, Hongi, an illustration of two women doing a hongi.
‘For me it’s about connectivity—connectivity of the wearer, the depth of the design and positioning of it, and the subtlety of the black on black. It draws you in but it’s not loud or obvious,’ said Rupapera.
Hinerangi added, ‘The Hongi artwork is inspired by the idea that we must awhi ourselves in whatever we are doing in life and allow that cyclical mauri to flow and connect us to the universe. When I think of hongi I am reminded that sharing breath with others is sharing breath with the self, and we are all linked together.
‘I said yes because I love working with other Māori and I trust Tania’s vision. I’m honoured to have my mahi beside so many other ātaahua Māori toi and taonga in Unity. I also couldn’t say no to working with a Ngāruahine businesswoman—it’s a goal of mine to work with as many cuzzies as possible!’
Knüfermann said, ‘It has been a pleasure to work with Tania on this. Upholding Māori culture and traditions is essential for preserving and promoting the unique identity of New Zealand. A collaboration between Māori designers and fashion industry players like Knüfermann raise awareness and showcase the rich cultural heritage of the Māori people. Such initiatives promote cultural appreciation and foster a deeper understanding of Māori traditions.’
Unity Collection, a contemporary art gallery in Matakana, New Zealand, can be found online at unitycollection.co.nz.