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Issue No. 411 March 2017

The fashion police

Frances Nimeti looks on as a model takes one of her designs along the catwalk at Mangere Arts Centre.

After ten years out of the fashion world, Frances Nimeti is back – and she wants her Police colleagues to show off their creativity.

Away from work as a communicator in North Comms, Frances is a fashion designer and event organiser.

She combined the two in November when she organised a sold-out fashion show at Mangere Arts Centre for Te Ulu O Te Watu, the community from the tiny Cook Islands atoll Pukapuka.

She was one of five designers of Pukapuka heritage with work on show.

The event harnessed community talents – from the models to music supplied by her 12-year-old son Taurino - and raised $4000 toward the cost of building a community hall.

“It was great to get this community involved and enhance local talents,” she says.

“The models were our young people, and they hadn’t modelled before.

Even their family members didn’t recognise them – they were wondering where did we get those girls? It came as a bit of a shock when they realised.”

Frances became interested in fashion design through her mother, a sample machinist.

Before joining Police in 2006 she studied elements of design, did some modelling and organised small-scale shows.

Her speciality is formal wear –“wedding dresses, big frocks and full gowns” – and wearable art.

Frances and her models

Her ambition is to organise a show of her own designs – but first she plans a Police fashion show to highlight colleagues’ talents and diversity.

She hopes to stage it in November in Auckland – though it is open to staff nationwide – and raise funds for as-yet unidentified good causes.

But there is much work to do and Frances is seeking help.

“I’m looking for Police staff with a passion for the project,” she says. “I need committee members, designers/dressmakers, stylists, hairdressers, make-up artists and female and male models of all sizes, security and a photographer and videographer to record the event.

“One of our values is Valuing Diversity so I hope other ethnic groups will get involved. This is a chance to show a different side of Police.”

This is a story from Beyond the Blue, a project to highlight the many ways Police staff spend their time away from work.

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