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PM Supports Kiwi Fashion In Australia

Auckland, May 22, 2001 -- Already flying high after Mercedes Australian Fashion Week, New Zealand’s fashion industry will receive a further boost across the Tasman later this month when Prime Minister Helen Clark addresses a special apparel event in Melbourne on May 29.

The apparel event is being organised by Trade New Zealand to capitalise on the Prime Minister’s attendance in Australia as head of a four-day trade mission.

New Zealand’s Trade Commissioner in Melbourne, Tui Te Hau, says the apparel event will feature designers Trelise Cooper, Snowy Peak and Karen Walker - all participants on the trade mission. Guests will include agents, retailers, designers and the media.

“This event is an opportunity to showcase New Zealand’s creativity and innovation. One of our flagship export sectors is apparel and we’re known in Australia for good quality garments and really edgy design,” says Ms Te Hau.

She says Australia is the main export market for New Zealand fashion designers and manufacturers. Total apparel and footwear exports from New Zealand were $233 million for the year ended December 2001, of which $192 million went to Australia.

“The Melbourne fashion industry is excited about the Prime Minister’s attendance at the apparel event - there’s a lot of interest in Australia in the New Zealand government’s support for fashion and other creative sectors.”

Peri Drysdale, founder and CEO of Snowy Peak, says she’s primarily taking part on the Prime Minister’s trade mission to support New Zealand apparel and tourism industries generically, and to reinforce her company’s position, which is at the upper end of the Australian market.

“Major customers are being invited to meet the Prime Minister and that always strengthens relationships, and there’s the networking opportunity which is positive.”

Snowy Peak exports three top quality knitwear labels including Merinomink - fine merino and possum fur- to Australia and also the Untouched World range, which Ms Drysdale describes as a total wardrobe lifestyle brand, from soft adventure through to elegant restaurant dining.

“We are currently increasing our customer base in domestic market Australia, and looking for agents to represent Snowy Peak in Adelaide, Perth and Canberra. I also have my eyes and ears open for franchisees for the Untouched World retail concept.”

With annual exports of $4 million to Australia, Trelise Cooper says she has several objectives from the mission.

“I want to promote New Zealand design and creativity and to show that our fashion industry can be taken seriously, that we are strong businesspeople. I’m hoping that as a New Zealand designer I’m lifting the profile of New Zealand design in Australia and facilitating a better relationship. I have a large and growing presence in Australia and it’s important that they see New Zealand in a favourable light,” says Ms Cooper.

Faye Officer, a leading Melbourne fashion retailer, says she currently stocks about 20 New Zealand labels, picking the best out of each range. She says her clients like the individuality of the designs.

Ms Officer, who recently returned from Mercedes Australian Fashion Week says she’s impressed by the complementary way New Zealand designers work with each other, and the support they get from Trade New Zealand.

“I think Trade New Zealand does the most incredible job, both from the buyers’ point of view and from the New Zealand designers’ point of view. They make sure we see new designers, help us with appointments and help the designers no end. They’ll give you anything you want within reason.”

Tui Te Hau says the Melbourne apparel event will be hosted by Robert Buckingham, Director of the Melbourne Fashion Festival. She says his presence will add further credibility to the event.

“Melbourne is the fashion capital of Australia, it’s very important we continue to build on our profile and raise awareness and this event is one way of achieving that.”

SNOWY PEAK LTD

The Snowy Peak Group produces and markets three quality knitwear labels - SNOWY PEAK„§ (fine luxury fibres such as merino, cashmere and silk); MERINOMINK„§ (fine merino and possum fur); MERINOMINK FASHION„§ (fine merino and possum fur); and a fourth, total lifestyle wardrobe brand UNTOUCHED WORLD„§ which has a number of innovative natural fabrics, with its renowned MOUNTAINSILK„§, machine washable fine merino. Arguably this and MERINOMINK„§ are two of the best apparel fabrics on the global market!

SNOWY PEAK㤠and MERINOMINK㤠are the clear market leaders in the New Zealand tourist market and the duty free market in Australia, and are sold in eight other countries in leading stores such as Nordstrum in USA and Isetan in Japan.

MERINOMINK FASHION„§ and UNTOUCHED WORLD„§ brands target the global fashion market, although they sell in high quality tourist orientated stores also. Having been very successfully selling in Australia’s tourist market for over twelve years with its SNOWY PEAK„§ and later MERINOMINK„§ brands, MERINOMINK FASHION„§ and UNTOUCHED WORLD„§ were launched in the Australian domestic market in Melbourne for winter 2002.

The company is serious about the Australian market, has a sales manager based in Australia, and has an agent covering Sydney who has recently taken over the Melbourne market. Currently it is seeking agents to cover Canberra, Adelaide and Perth.

For its UNTOUCHED WORLD㤠label the company is also seeking concept store franchisees in Melbourne, with a view to launching its full lifestyle concept (clothing, body, food, art) in Australia over the next 18 months.

TRELISE COOPER LIMITED

Trelise Cooper Ltd started in January 1997 with Trelise's vision to fill a niche in the clothing market - to design and produce clothing that was creative, had personality, was funky but functional and gave the wearer an opportunity to express who they were. The demographic market identified was aged between 30 - 55 years old and therefore the design shapes and fit had to take into account the changes in women's bodies while remaining contemporary and fashion directional. The label is targeted at the upper socio-economic customer where price is not the deciding factor.

Trelise Cooper Ltd began initially marketing directly to the customer through agents in cities throughout New Zealand and Australia but after a few seasons realised that the very quick production turnaround and small production runs were not economically viable. Trelise then began selling to retailers throughout New Zealand. After a season wholesaling in New Zealand and opening her first Auckland store the range was taken to Australia and sold through retail in outlets in NSW, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, ACT and South Australia.

A year ago a new agent was appointed in Australia. Robert England Pty Ltd brings over 30 years experience from the wholesale and retail clothing industry and an in depth network of key contacts and established relationships from within the clothing industry in Australia. This network is utilised to place Trelise Cooper labels into all areas of Australia and expand our reach and revenue profile.

The company currently markets four labels, Trelise Cooper, Luscious, cooper and Doll.

KAREN WALKER

Karen Walker’s first runway collection in winter 1998 was the “Daddy’s Gone Strange” collection at Hong Kong Fashion Week. Based around reappropriation of a traditional man’s business suit, the collection put Walker onto the international scene when it was picked up by Barneys New York and Madonna wore the now dubbed “killer pants” to perform in at the MTV awards. Her next collection received rave reviews from the likes of Marcus Von Ackermann of Paris Vogue and April Hughes of American Elle. The collection increased Karen Walker’s availability into stores such as Colette in Paris. Since then Karen has shown to acclaim at London Fashion Week and Australian Fashion Week.

Global sales have been increasing steadily since Karen Walker began to export in

1996 with her designs now available throughout Australia and in leading

high fashion boutiques and department stores in Hong Kong, the UK, USA and Japan.

Karen Walker has recently extended her brand into a range of interior and exterior paints.


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