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Wellington Pioneers Fashion Export Programme

Wellington Pioneers Fashion Export Programme

Positively Wellington Business continues to demonstrate its support of the fashion industry, pioneering a unique programme in partnership with New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE), which aims to build the export capability of the regions emerging designers and encourages the development of an international focus.

Eleven emerging Wellington designers will travel to Sydney to attend Australian Fashion Week from the 2 – 8 May. They have participated in a series of six workshops focussed on critical business and exporting skills leading up to the visit.

“The main aim is to provide a reality check on what is involved in exporting and participating in international trade shows” says programme organiser Tui Te Hau of Positively Wellington Business.

“Australia is the first export market for apparel designers. At the high fashion end designers can reach market saturation in New Zealand very quickly in their business lifecycle. Coupled with the strategic value of gaining international recognition, designers are often driven to investigate exporting much earlier than in other sectors” – says Te Hau.

The programme follows Positively Wellington Business’s latest initiative, Business incubator Fashion HQ. All five Fashion HQ residents plus an accessory designer from its second business incubator Creative HQ are participating in the programme.

Incubator Manager Mark Blumsky comments, “Many new designers try their luck at international fashion events prematurely, at huge cost and with few commercial outcomes. Most small companies simply do not have the funds to sustain one poor showing at a trade event such as Australian Fashion Week. This programme will help them to determine the viability of their product in the Australian market. It could save them a lot of money!”

NZTE estimate that the fashion industry contributes approximately $40m per annum in export earnings. Most companies in the sector are small, 72% with turnover less than $2 million (2002).

Despite the relatively small potential for export earnings, fashion design has a major impact on employment, particularly downstream services such as CMT (Cut, Make and Trim services). Fashion plays a key role in boosting New Zealand’s reputation as a creative nation and has had a symbiotic relationship with other sectors such as film, through costume design, and on the catwalk.

Partners NZTE view the apparel project as a pilot and hope to support similar programmes in other sectors in the future.

“The programme covers all of the major export topics and uses the global network of NZTE to organise key meetings with buyers and media” says Claire van Opdorp, Exporter Education Development Manager for New Zealand Trade and Enterprise.

Van Opdorp says “The market start model is an innovative approach to bridge companies into the export arena”.

Positively Wellington Business Recognising that there is greater economic strength through unity, the Upper Hutt, Lower Hutt, Porirua and Wellington City Councils united in 2001 to establish Positively Wellington Business, formally the Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency. Working together to reduce red tape for businesses within the Greater Wellington region - Positively Wellington Business provides information and facilitation services to migrants, investors, small and medium-sized businesses and the corporate community.

Fashion HQ Fashion HQ is a business incubator that operates as part of the Creative HQ incubator. It offers promising fashion designers the opportunity to work in a fully established premise, receive mentoring and advice and also, by way of the incubator retail outlet, sell their garments direct to the public.

New Zealand Trade and Enterprise New Zealand Trade and Enterprise is the New Zealand Government’s agency charged with helping New Zealand businesses achieve success at home and in the global marketplace.

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