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Canterbury designers selected for NZ Fashion Week

Record contingent of Canterbury designers selected for NZ Fashion Week

Six Canterbury fashion labels – Barbara Lee, Caroline Moore, Sakaguchi, Sharon Ng, tango and Untouched World – have been chosen to stage catwalk shows at October’s prestigious L’Oreal New Zealand Fashion Week. Outside of Auckland, Canterbury designers make up the second largest regional contingent.

Sharon Ng and Untouched World are both returning for the second time to stage solo shows, while leatherwear designer Caroline Moore will once again share the catwalk with Vertice / Vamp. Three other local labels – tango (Vicky Wynn-Williams and Malaika Grove), Sakaguchi (Takaaki Sakaguchi) and Barbara Lee, are putting on a joint Canterbury parade.

Designers of all six labels are members of ClothesLink Canterbury, the newly formed apparel cluster established by Canterbury Development Corporation.

“Last year we had five designers showing at Fashion Week in Auckland, which was a record as well, but this year will be better than ever because three labels are teaming up for a group ClothesLink Canterbury show,” says ClothesLink Canterbury facilitator, Christine Gooding.

She says L’Oreal New Zealand Fashion Week is extremely important because it puts Canterbury’s top designers directly in front of fashion buyers and media from all over the world.

“Everyone who showed last year came away with significant new orders and made contacts that lead to even more orders during the year,” says Christine Gooding.

Untouched World’s Peri Drysdale is one of those designers who can point to clear business results.

“Untouched World picked up new accounts from its show at Fashion Week last year, mostly in Australia. As recently as last month, we secured a further new account in New York which was directly connected to L’Oreal New Zealand Fashion Week,” says Peri Drysdale.

“For us, Fashion Week is about a mix of PR and wholesale sales, says tango’s Vicky Wynn-Williams.

“It’s a fantastic way to show tango – last year we picked up three new accounts, two of which were in Melbourne. Our wholesale business has doubled in dollar value since 2002 and we’re continuing to pick up new accounts, many of whom saw us at Fashion Week.”

Now in its third year, L’Oreal New Zealand Fashion Week is the brainchild of Pieter Stewart. Herself a ‘Canterbury girl’, Pieter has a lifelong passion for the fashion industry having worked as associate editor of Fashion Quarterly and owned Pieter’s model agency in Christchurch. She later established and ran the televised Wella and Corbans Fashion Collections, and is a member of the ClothesLink Canterbury steering group.

Over the last year, Pieter has been busy aggressively marketing the 2003 L’Oreal New Zealand Fashion Week to buyers and media throughout the world. This has involved trips to Hong Kong, the Melbourne Fashion Festival, the Los Angeles ‘Designers and Agents’ trade show, a special showcase in London, three days of appointments in New York and a second trip to Australia. As a result, she has high expectations this year’s Fashion Week will be a success.

“I think it’s going to be very strong because of the international interest and the calibre of the designers.”

While the buyer and media list isn’t confirmed for another month, all the big name designers will be there, including Zambesi, Nom D, World, Trelise Cooper, Kate Sylvester and Nicholas Blanchet. For the first time, Karen Walker has also elected to show.

Outside of Auckland, Canterbury will have the biggest regional presence at New Zealand Fashion Week. Dunedin maintains its traditionally strong showing with Nom D, Tanya Carlson and Mild Red but none of the established Wellington designers this year are making the trip.

“It’s great to have so many Christchurch designers, says Pieter Stewart. “The strong support of the new ClothesLink Canterbury cluster group is already showing benefits.”

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