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Huffer, Deborah Sweeney Scoop Up Export Awards

Media Release
19 September 2006

Huffer & Deborah Sweeney Scoop Up Air New Zealand Export Awards

Uber cool label Huffer and up-coming Wellington designer Deborah Sweeney have picked up the local fashion industry’s most lucrative awards in the third annual Air New Zealand Fashion Export Awards.

Presenting the awards at the opening of Air New Zealand Fashion Week 2006, Air New Zealand CEO Rob Fyfe acknowledged the designers’ achievements and the marked growth of New Zealand fashion internationally.

“Every year we receive more entries, a testament to the fashion industry’s significant growth and success over the past few years. It was close this year with more designers than ever showing strong export potential but Huffer and Deborah Sweeney edged out in front with a vision for growth that really inspired us.”

Open to all designers showing at Air New Zealand Fashion Week, the awards provide two local designers a combined total of more than $55,000 worth of travel, accommodation and market assistance to help grow their export earnings and international profile.

“New Zealand fashion has gained an international reputation for creative and experimental designs, and the awards are our way of helping perpetuate the growth of this overseas.

“It’s truly exciting to support the plans of two deserving designers at different stages of their export business, and I’m confident these awards will help fulfil their export goals and trumpet the New Zealand brand overseas,” said Mr Fyfe.

Judging the awards was Air New Zealand Fashion Week managing director Pieter Stewart; CEO of outdoor clothing exporter Icebreaker Jeremy Moon; Jane Cunliffe, Operations Manager for Creative Industries at New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, and Air New Zealand’s General Manager of Marketing Steve Bayliss.

No stranger to exporting judge Jeremy Moon said there were three essential ingredients to being a good exporter.

“Having a great product is a good start but isn’t the determinant of success overseas. It’s about combining a great product with a strong vision for your company, a focused approach on what you want to achieve, and a clear plan that will get you there,” he said.

“We looked at entries that had all of these qualities and then reviewed how each designer intended to use Air New Zealand’s travel prize to meet their export objectives.”

Huffer, which has exported since 1999 won the ‘Growth’ category, open to any designer showing at Air New Zealand Fashion Week 2006.

Their win sees the boys from Huffer take away a year’s worth of international travel on Air New Zealand to the tune of $32,000; four nights' accommodation at any of the Hilton International’s properties; in-market support from New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, and $2500 worth of international and domestic freight from DHL.

Deborah Sweeny, whose collections are stocked in six countries around the world picked up the ‘Development’ award, designed for those who have exported for less than five years.

Their prize package includes a year’s worth of international travel on Air New Zealand to the tune of $16,000; two nights' accommodation at any of the Hilton International’s properties; in-market support from New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, and $1250 worth of international and domestic freight from DHL.

“These generous awards bring both designers one step closer to realising their vision for international success by giving them the means to travel to markets to research and establish representation. It’s an achievement that both designers should be incredibly proud of,” said Mr Moon.


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