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Fashion Industry Has Opportunities And Challenges

12 August 2002

Fashion Industry Has Opportunities And Challenges

Economic, Industry and Regional Development Minister Jim Anderton is welcoming the first in-depth study of New Zealand’s designer fashion industry as an excellent starting point for getting more New Zealand fashion on catwalks and in fashion stores around the world.

“The designer fashion industry in New Zealand’ was commissioned by Industry New Zealand and written by Paul Blomfield, acting chief executive of the interim fashion design industry association. (report:

“The report shows that there are a number of production, training and marketing issues that need to be addressed. It also indicates that the barriers to growth are not the products or our talent. New Zealand fashion design is of outstanding quality and there are many steps that we can take to increase our impact internationally,” said Jim Anderton.

“This report will have a significant benefit to the Taskforce which is working on how design adds value to a wide range of products and services.

“Fashion design is a highly visible example of New Zealand innovation and talent and is already having a positive impact on our global reputation and profile.

“Industry New Zealand is already working with the designer fashion industry by supporting the New Zealand and Wellington fashion weeks. The recommendations and the details of this latest report will be worked through by Industry New Zealand, the industry and the Taskforce,” said Jim Anderton.

The scoping report contributes to a range of initiatives that support the Government’s innovation Design Industry Taskforce, which is made up of leading experts in the design industry.

According to the report, the New Zealand designer fashion industry could be worth as much as $160 million a year (based on gross revenues at wholesale prices) and approximately $40.6 million is exported to our largest market Australia.

Designers interviewed for the study reported sales growth of around 10 per cent during the last year.

The study involved a comprehensive survey of New Zealand’s designer fashion businesses, and identified a number of industry-wide problems particularly production and skill shortages.

The recommendations of the study include:

- The establishment of an industry development organisation to promote networking, manage databases and communication within the industry;

- That this organisation facilitate specialist designer and production mentors;

- A greater range of skills and more contact time in fashion design courses; and

- The development of export and market information.

Other findings include:

- The designer fashion study found the industry was dominated by small companies with 72 per cent of the 119 companies having turnover of less than $2 million in the last year.

- Sixty nine per cent employed fewer than 10 full-time staff.

- The industry has a strong emphasis on design with 14 percent of the total workforce primarily involved in design.

- Designer fashion is a young industry with only 13 per cent of businesses established before 1980.

The scoping study builds on an earlier Industry New Zealand report - The creative industries in New Zealand - which placed designer fashion in the creative sector which is growing faster than the rest of the economy.

The study defines designer fashion as including clothing design, the manufacture of clothes for exhibition, consultancy and the spread of fashion lines.

The full study can be downloaded from -


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