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Fashion Week future bleak, but not weak

At a press conference this morning, Fashion and Culture Week director Jennifer Souness of Creative Business Development Limited (pictured above with Claire Johnstone of Clemenger BBDO) announced that without a last minute reprieve from a sponsor, New Zealand Fashion and Culture Week will be cancelled.

The event, which is scheduled to take place in Wellington from the 17th to the 19th of November 2000, is intended to showcase the best of New Zealand’s creative industries - fashion, music, film, art, design (web, graphic, product and furniture), food, wine, and Maori and Pacific cultures - to a visiting delegation of journalists, international buyers and industry representatives.

Fighting back tears, Production Director Jennifer Souness cited the "tremendous support" received from people within the creative industries, but explained that TradeNZ's refusal to grant sponsorship, and the lack of provision for airline flights for the xpected overseas journalists and delegates made it seem likely that "this great opportunity" would not happen.

Unless a sponsor comes forward, Creative Business Development will contact the 52 top fashion and lifestyle journalists and industry delegates who have confirmed their attendance at the event in two weeks time. These include the fashion editors of Italian Vogue and Italian Elle, the UK Sunday Times and Daily Telegraph, i-D Magazine, Le Figaro, CNN, Australian Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar along with industry renowned buyers and fashion PRs, the design press, the organisers of the Glastonbury music festival and a representative of the Venice Biennale arts festival.

In a press statement, Souness said that support had been received from "Clemenger BBDO, Mai FM, the Poutama Trust, Creative New Zealand, Montana Wines, representatives from the film, design and music industries (Webmedia, Veda, Smith Rangi & Wong, Bic Runga, Stellar, DLT, 89 FM), M.A.C., KMS, Evolu, the Duxton Hotel, Lambton Harbour Management, the designers, plus individuals like Rik Hart and Ross Campbell (Industry New Zealand), Claire Johnstone and Geoff Sinclair... but unfortunately, without the backing of a major sponsor, the event will be unable to continue."

Souness explained that delegates are prepared to come to New Zealand "because they believe that our creative industries have something really exceptional to offer and because they believe New Zealand is hot right now. What is so saddening is the negative perception they could have of New Zealand if everything fell through. The fashion buyers in particular would be almost impossible to draw back after such a set back and this would be my deepest regret as it could do irreparable damage to the industry’s chances abroad - the very thing the event was created to encourage.”

“Despite initial encouragement and endorsement to set up the event, a lot of people and organisations have shied away from real commitment. Some have kept us hanging on for an answer for months, only to tell us that such an all-encompassing event does not fit into their remit. They are missing the point. The rest of the world is interested in New Zealand now.”

“This will be a wasted opportunity for our young creative talent – exactly the sort of industries that Helen Clark was saying only last week that we should encourage and support. Rhetoric on supporting our creative industries seems to be rife at the moment, but only a crucial few seem to be taking action. ”

“New Zealand’s creative industries stand on their own merit, but it would be devastating to see such a wonderful opportunity for them fall at the last hurdle. People here do not seem to understand the significance of the prestigious group of visitors who want to come to this event and how their attendance can benefit New Zealand. We have worked hard to gain the confidence of many in the fashion industry overseas, but seem to have failed to emulate this here.”

Souness said it has taken seven month’s work from a team of volunteers to set up the event. “Everything is in place. Putting together an event like this is a huge undertaking and many people have made huge contributions of time, effort and commitment with the goal of making this event a success.”

“Should a major sponsor not come forward, our goal can only be to make sure that the cancellation of this event is handled in a way that does the least amount of damage to the industries that it set out promote.”

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