NZFW: The Wrap Up

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Model Jennifer Tooley on the runway for Twenty-seven Names

It's hard to believe New Zealand Fashion Week is done and dusted for another year, as per usual it flew by in a busy blur and perhaps, since it was shorter than ever, was all over and done with way too quickly.  It's been nearly a week now and it's taken me this long to put my wrap up into words because I wanted to reflect for a few days on everything.  Usually for me the day after fashion week and indeed the few days afterwards have that day after Christmas feeling, the mild blues following intense, emotional and sometimes overwhelming highs.  But unfortunately this year there wasn't all that much to get really excited about.

Don't get me wrong there were some stellar collections, Zambesi definitely presented the show and collection of the week, their backstage reveal made for one of the most fascinating shows ever at NZFW. Some of my favourite labels; Twenty-seven Names, Hailwood and Salasai, all presented brilliant collections and Twenty-seven names effortlessly cool yet oh so charming collection was the perfect start to the week. It's just that some others were decidedly lacklustre and a few didn't feel runway ready at all, much less for fashion week where the standard is usually very high and the best in the industry are perched on their seats in anticipation hoping to be delighted.

There were several other strong shows, Lela Jacobs, Company of Strangers and Stolen Girlfriends Club were among those who made great use of their NZFW slots.  Of course Trelise Cooper had a packed house for her huge presentation, although I'm not sure how well the abundance of facial studs went down with her older market, but kudos to her for breaking her mould and trying something new.  Her raised stage gave pretty much everyone a brilliant view which definitely helps win over the audience too.

For me the biggest disappointment was the number of great labels missing from the schedule this year, although I can absolutely understand the myriad of reasons why labels would choose not to show, most of all being the expense and relevance of holding a show at NZFW.  But it truly wasn't the same without the likes of Juliette Hogan, Ingrid Starnes, Kathryn Wilson, Ruby & Liam and Cybele among others.  It's really hard to point the finger at NZFW though, they do an amazing job for what is essentially a family business and like everyone have struggled in this economy.  One of the real issues though does seem to be timing, overlapping fashion week in New York isn't doing NZ any favours at all.  Especially as you can imagine the international buyers and media would much rather go there than here, so our labels miss out on a lot of international coverage and potential sales which could otherwise make a difference to them.  NZFW needs to re-think the timing first, then address some of the other issues with the event for it to continue to survive, otherwise it risks either disappearing or becoming an extended fashion weekend event.

Certainly the international scene has changed as well, technology has been the biggest factor in that, with livestreams and instantaneous social media coverage now available, it is possible to cover a fashion week without actually taking a seat at the event.  I've read lots of interesting pieces lately about these changes and how they will effect fashion weeks around the globe in future so it will be truly fascinating to see what happens as the years progress.  Although nothing can take the place of a live runway show, in a new era where budgets are tight and technology is getting cheaper it's unsurprising that people are getting creative about getting their wares out there.

But back to New Zealand, as much as NZFW wasn't quite as exciting this year, huge congratulations should go to Chris Lorimer of Ciel PR who produced a number of wonderful and truly creative shows during the week.  The collaboration with Always Sometimes Anytime on the Underground installation, presenting 10 different designers works in 10 different ways was genius and a welcome break from the usual style of runway presentation.  His work continued well into the Fashion Weekend event with the in-season A.O.K. - All On K Road show displaying the diverse creations of Lela Jacobs, Maaike, Jimmy D and Hailwood for the public.

There are so many incredibly talented people that work so hard to create unique and memorable collections and shows at NZFW, it really would be a shame if the event disappeared as a trade show.  Over the past eight NZ fashion weeks, I've grown to love and slowly become a part of this fascinating industry, the yearly get together for fashion week always feels like the coming together of a loving but somewhat dysfunctional family united by their shared passions, I truly hope next year's NZFW is a vastly better one for everyone involved.

Image from: TV3 by Madeleine Page

Just So Pretty x

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