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New Zealand’s Fashion Industry

14 October 2004

New Zealand’s Fashion Industry - Growing Exports and Showcasing New Zealand Creativity to the World

14 October 2004 -- New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) Sector Manager Creative Industries, Paul Blomfield says New Zealand’s fashion designers are proving their success as exporters and entrepreneurs, generating over $300 million in export earnings and whose creative efforts are driving home the message that New Zealand is a nation of new ideas and new thinking.

“New Zealand is a small nation in a tough global marketplace. You have to be smart to compete and you need products that differentiate themselves effectively. New Zealand’s fashion industry is doing just that by constantly innovating, and delivering fresh and unique products to the world’s consumers. They are moving up the global food-chain and they are doing it successfully,” says Mr Blomfield.

New Zealand apparel exports have grown by $20 million (to June 2004) in the past year, fuelled by Air New Zealand Fashion Week (ANZFW) and strong interest in New Zealand’s creative output, says Mr Blomfield.

“It’s a mixture of things coming together. From the success of fashion week, to The Lord of The Rings and Whale Rider, celebrities such as Madonna, Samantha Morton, Julia Roberts wearing New Zealand labels and musicians such as Steriogram (nominated for the MTV awards) and Hayley Westenra doing so well overseas,” says Mr Blomfield.

“It’s all building New Zealand’s profile on the word stage and that in turn is generating real excitement and interest in fashion and other creative industries.”

New research by Horwath Asia Pacific Limited shows last year’s fashion week generated $23.2 million for the New Zealand economy in terms of total output generated, and an estimated $19.2 million to the Auckland economy. Fashion designers’ expected incremental foreign exchange earnings resulting from the event are estimated to be in excess of $9.5 million.

“The success of events such as ANZFW allows New Zealand to position itself as a confident nation of talented people and ideas, while supporting export growth and global linkages for our fashion industry,” says Mr Blomfield. Earlier this year, NZTE funded an economic impact report on how exporters were coping with the effects of the high New Zealand dollar. The report showed fashion businesses faring better than others. (please see editor’s notes)

“The resilience is there because our fashion designers are price-makers on the world markets, not price-takers. By combining creativity, innovation and marketing wisely, they are creating strong international brands that can whether currency fluctuations and command premiums.”

Mr Blomfield says he is confident that New Zealand’s fashion industry will go from strength to strength and continue to make a positive contribution to New Zealand’s economic growth.

“In a global economy dominated by brands, New Zealand’s creative industries – from fashion to film, design and music – all play a major part in raising New Zealand’s international visibility and export growth. This makes our fashion designers ambassadors for New Zealand on the world stage. Having consumers overseas wearing New Zealand labels, seeing influential media, buyers, celebrities talking about our designers, is the sort of endorsement that makes New Zealand a talking point and has positive spillovers for all our exports.”


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