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Done Deals, Bumper Retail Sales At Fashion Week

Friday 21 October 2005

Done Deals, Bumper Retail Sales And International Credibility The Hallmark Of Air New Zealand Fashion Week 2005

Image from IPG Show

From retailers to designers, international media to sponsors, the fifth Air New Zealand Fashion Week was getting rave reviews as the week drew to a close on Friday night.

Around 14,000 guests and 600-700 buyers and media representing more than 14 countries attended 37 shows over the course of the week, with 46 labels showing and 54 businesses showcased in the Exhibition, up from 35 in 2004.

Feedback from international buyers has been positive. UK buyer Paul Sexton from exclusive London store Koh Samui said he would be buying from a number of designers he had seen during the week including Trelise Cooper, Helen Cherry, Workshop, Widdess and Cybele, saying their feminine and floaty appeal was in keeping with the designers Koh Samui already stocked.

Other international buyers had similar feedback but would now have to look at exchange rates and tarriff implications before confirming the size of their deals.

Visiting media have also given rave reviews for what they've seen over the week. Peppe Orru from Italian fashion trade bible Collezioni said he had not expected the calibre of the talent he had seen on the catwalk. Mr Orru, a veteran of twenty years in fashion journalism said there were a number of collections of an international level.

"There has been real variety and scope in the collections, from sportswear and streetwear, to niche, avante garde labels, and elegant, contemporary womenswear.

"I've also been impressed by the new generation of young designers coming through with the potential to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Zambesi and Karen Walker."

While the sales figures from the event remain as always the business of the designers, among those happy to be quoted was Claire Kingan-Jones of RJC. Kingan-Jones said her RJC and Edge labels had picked up at least four new accounts and new label, Kingan-Jones, had already picked up significant business.

"Having a showroom onsite this year has really helped us, with instant interest and business from buyers. It's hard to quantify yet but we will be getting a lot of new business."

Christchurch designer Sakaguchi, who chose a showroom as an alternative to a show this year, said they already had an impressive 25 new accounts by the end of Fashion Week. Leather specialist Caroline Moore, who had a catwalk show on the schedule as well as a showroom onsite, said the label had doubled its winter orders. "We've also made a lot of new contacts we will be following up. The experience has been very positive."

Highest praise came from Nom*D's Margi Robertson who singled out the smooth running of the event this year for particular attention. She also praised organisers for their selection of VIP international buyers and media describing them as "interesting to talk to and highly relevant for what is currently happening in NZ fashion."

At the fashion coalface, designers with Auckland retail stores are reporting bumper sales with one designer experiencing a 300% jump on retail sales during the week. Others talked of big spends by international delegates in the hours after their shows.

Managing Director of Air New Zealand Fashion Week, Pieter Stewart, said she was delighted with the positive feedback to this year's event from buyers and media.

"Their response is proof of the real depth of talent coming through which means good things for the future of Air New Zealand Fashion Week. Our focus is on getting better, not bigger, so it's also great to hear our international guests say we are operating to an international standard."

Stewart begins her preparation for the 2006 collections next week when she heads to Hong Kong and Shanghai to profile New Zealand designers at trade shows and to key targets.


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