Thursday, April 12, 2012

Finally: New Zealand Spring Collections on the local Runway

New Zealand possesses a small, close-knit and solid fashion industry. The resources and size of which means that we have one fashion week a year, usually around September, and aimed at showcasing the Winter collections that will hit stores the following year. NZFW always does well when it comes to exposure and media coverage of the designers that showcase which, given our small population and even smaller industry, has a decent of impact on PR and sales. However the emphasis on winter collections every year means that the spring ranges often pass by more quietly, especially when it comes to the general public. Brands' social media like Twitter and Facebook have been instrumental in increasing coverage and dialogue with the consumer. Similarly blogs both local and overseas can cause viral exposure for a designer's range, such as the Spring collection from twenty-seven names a few years ago that featured a small army of fresh-faced models and spread like wildfire across blogs and Tumblr.

Juliette Hogan's spring campaign image.

However nothing really competes with the impact a runway show can have on a brand's visibility and the subsequent success of the collection they show. So all this is going to change soon at the spring end of the calendar with the launch of a runway event to present spring collections from a select handful of local designers.

Entitled 'Blue Sky' - a name evocative of spring, new beginnings and optimism - and scheduled for Tuesday 24th of April the event is pioneered by Showroom 22 as a platform to counter-balance the priority given to winter collections and to give exposure to spring ranges. Unlike NZFW and NZ Fashion Festival, Blue Sky is strictly for trade buyers and media, with the focus being on successful exposure and sell-through rather than including the public in the fashion show experience - a move which I think is very clever and goes back to the traditional purpose of runway shows. The inaugural event of what is hopefully an annual occurrence will showcase three local designers - Alexandra Owen, Salasai and Juliette Hogan. Although all are in the Showroom 22 stable, Blue Sky is an event in its own right and will hopefully, in the future, grow to include a spectrum of other labels. With all the local designers like Kate Sylvester and Stolen Girlfriends Club who usually show at Australian Fashion Week opting out of that event this year for various reasons, it will be interesting to see what support and growth a spring show on home turf will have. It has the potential to be a highly successful and viable option for labels wanting to showcase their spring ranges to media and buyers, not to mention increased public exposure.

With hair and beauty by Stephen Marr and M.A.C cosmetics (who do the lion's share of shows at NZFW, not to mention countless local campaigns and editorials), each designer will have its own unique look. Hosted by Britomart's distinguished and successful Nathan Club and Australis House, the show will be situated in the downtown hub that is experiencing incredible growth, popularity and a rising fashion presence - especially now that stores like Zambesi, World and Kate Sylvester have opened their doors on Tyler Street. The Blue Sky event also coincides with the tenth birthday milestone of Murray Bevan's Showroom 22 - an anniversary that will no doubt be celebrated at the post-show party.

Stay tuned in the coming week or two - I have some exclusive interviews with the designers involved (Juliette Hogan, Alexandra Owen and Salasai's Kirsha Whitcher) about their spring collections and preparation for the show.


  1. Interesting discussion on the place of the fashion show in a local market.

    We must discuss in more depth sometime soon... the fashion show as cultural spectacle... x

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