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Austerity chic emerges as credit crunch bites

Media Release

18 September 2008

Austerity chic emerges as credit crunch bites shoppers

The current credit crunch is having a real impact on the fashion industry, but it’s not dire, said international experts at the Westpac Workroom at Air New Zealand Fashion Week today. And they emphasised the strengths of the New Zealand fashion industry to an audience of approximately 50 designers, buyers and media.

International fashion writer, Patty Huntington, columnist for Women’s Wear Daily for the past 12 years, said New Zealand designers should be making the most of the ‘clean, green eco thing’ which New Zealand is known for overseas.

She said the current credit crisis has had an effect on consumers, with the emergence of ‘austerity chic’. “They’re still shopping but they’re shopping differently,” she said, explaining that shoppers are still buying high end quality clothing but in styles that will last for years, and also buying cheaper garments to wear and throw away.

Westpac Business Manager Ray Searle said it was important for New Zealand designers to build a successful local base from which to launch their product. “To get into new markets takes money and time and that can impact your business. It’s important to get through this current credit crisis by focusing on what you can control – stock management, staffing, retail space, location.”

Bryan Eible of Foxy Lady boutiques in Florida has been coming to Air New Zealand Fashion Week for the last five years, and has been carrying New Zealand labels for eight years in his stores. He says the exclusivity of New Zealand fashion is a real point of strength, along with the beauty of the designs.

“I now have people coming into my stores and asking for New Zealand fashion.”

But he did warn that New Zealand designers have to be careful to be consistent with their export orders, and get them delivered on time.


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