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A Positive Step To International Success

13 January, 2005

For New Zealand’s Emerging Designers A Positive Step To International Success

An opportunity of a lifetime to win in excess of $20,000 worth of business assistance

Mercedes-Benz Start Up is an annual incubator program that contributes to the professional and personal careers of New Zealand’s best up and coming fashion design talent, by providing both valuable financial assistance and access to key national and international industry decision makers. It also provides an unrivalled opportunity to receive a complimentary collection show at the internationally renowned Mercedes Australian Fashion Week. The Mercedes-Benz Start Up program was launched in Australia in 2001 by Akira Isogawa, with the aim to support and nurture new generation designers on both a local and national level.

The Mercedes-Benz Start Up New Zealand program is now calling for submissions from New Zealand’s emerging fashion designers. To enter, fledgling designers should download the program guidelines and application form from The deadline for submissions is February 11, 2005. Finalists will be flown to Auckland to participate in the runway show and after party to take place on February 25, 2005. Finalist’s accommodation will be provided courtesy of the program.

To be eligible for Mercedes-Benz Start Up New Zealand, candidates from each state must present their credentials in at least one of the following categories; menswear (ready to wear), womenswear (ready to wear), street wear and swimwear. Up to ten of the most innovative and promising designers from around New Zealand will earn the right to compete in the Mercedes-Benz Start Up New Zealand show complete with a publicity and production team, models and stylists. The invaluable knowledge and experience gained from such an opportunity will be of enormous benefit to the designers and their careers.

The selection process is a result of a two phased judging system. Similar to the process in Australia, the judges in New Zealand will consist of representatives from the media, retailers and key industry influencers. The winning designer of Mercedes-Benz Start Up New Zealand will be awarded a cash prize of NZ$5,000 and the invaluable opportunity to show their collections to a national and international audience during Mercedes Australian Fashion Week in Sydney in May 2005 as part of a New Generation Group Collection Show. Professional guidance and advice on communications, marketing and wholesaling will also be offered through a mentoring program set up especially to aid the winning designers.

The initiative has been developed in conjunction with the Mercedes Car Group New Zealand and Australian Fashion Innovators, (the company responsible for managing and producing this program throughout the Asia Pacific region). In Australia, the program has been running successfully for four years and is now considered to be the most credible new business support program for the ready-to-wear fashion industry.

Martyn Dawson, General Manager of Mercedes Car Group New Zealand said “The Mercedes-Benz Start Up program will become the industry breeding ground and support mechanism to ensure that New Zealand’s best new generation designers are seen, heard and importantly supported in the challenging phase of starting a successful new wholesale fashion business”. He continued by saying, “In keeping with Mercedes-Benz’s, worldwide support of the fashion industry and its support of many leading New Zealand designers, Mercedes-Benz is extremely excited to further support the creative and inspirational New Zealand fashion industry with the introduction of this program”.

Launched at Cibo restaurant in Auckland on Monday November 30, 2004, a number of leading New Zealand designers attended to show support for the initiative including; Trelise Cooper, Nom D, Zambesi, World, Caroline Church and Melinda Brown alongside other key industry representatives. The Mercedes-Benz Start Up New Zealand program actively seeks to help build many more internationally successful New Zealand brands over the coming years.


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