Outstanding Storytelling Award won at ShowQuest

By Dawn Vilaga


Westlake Girls’ High School – Virago, Showquest 2021, Aotea Centre – Auckland Senior, 01-07-21

My name is Dawn and I worked with my friend, Breanna for the Toi competition for ShowQuest this year.

We decided to make the theme of our Toi related to Greek mythology, specifically, Greek goddesses. We brainstormed for about a term, figuring out what we want to portray with our piece, sending each other Instagram posts for ideas and imagining how we want it to look like. Since both of us are really passionate about feminism, we decided to make our Toi, a strong, powerful character that girls can look up to.

We named her Virago which means a young female warrior. We tried to represent this by the use of blue and pink clashing together as the colours often depict gender; the ‘flowy’ parts(the top and ruffles) showing femininity and daintiness of a woman and the more structured part (pants, hand armour, corset) the side of aggression and more men-like qualities of a warrior.

The painting on the wing depict the freedom that we, as women, have on our choices and to show our independence and capabilities. The black bird typically represents death and loss. However, with the white bird beside it, they symbolise rebirth and new beginnings to present the change we want to happen in our society – to remove the gender role expectations given to women.

It took us about 11 weeks to finally complete the whole look. Mainly the last 2 weeks procrastinating and panicking on last minute changes and finalising ideas.

A lot of sleepless nights and endless hard work during the weekends was put into Virago. We both think it paid off as we had so much fun on the night. It was a great experience for the both of us designers and our lovely model, Francine. We got to experience runway rehearsals, photoshoot and preparing the model all in one day. It was also very exciting to meet other fellow designers from other schools that we made friends with.

We would like to thank Mrs Meikle and Ms Luisetti for their endless support while making the garments, especially Mrs Meikle, providing last minute help on the day of ShowQuest.

On the night of the show, we won the “Outstanding Storytelling Award” which was very gratifying as we were able to tell a story which we were both very passionate about.

Sadly, we didn’t win any national awards but nonetheless, we were still glad that a lot of people got to see what we made and we’ve received heaps of appreciation and compliments from everyone which was truly heartwarming.