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Catwalk Coup for Canterbury Designers


16 September, 2003

Catwalk Coup for Canterbury Designers

Catwalk fashions by Christchurch designer Sharon Ng.

Canterbury’s top fashion designers have been offered an exclusive opportunity to showcase their garments before some of the richest and most powerful retailers in the Asia-Pacific region.

Seven local labels - Barbara Lee, Caroline Moore, Merinomink Signature, Sakaguchi, Sharon Ng, tango and Untouched World – will stage a catwalk show at the opening night of the 11th Asian Retailers Convention and Exhibition (ARCE), being held in Christchurch later this month.

More than 1500 retailers with combined annual retail sales in excess of US$1 trillion are being hosted by the NZ Retailers Association, in one of the largest conventions of its kind ever held in the city.

Top executives and buyers from the biggest retailing chains in Asia and Australia will be attending the four-day convention, which kicks off with the catwalk parade of Canterbury fashion on 22 September. Around 70% of ARCE delegates are coming from overseas, with 500 from Japan alone. Conference speakers include some of the world’s most influential retailers, including senior managers from Britain’s Selfridges, and Japanese giants Isetan and Seiyu.

“This event is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Canterbury’s thriving high fashion industry,” says Christine Gooding, facilitator of ClothesLink Canterbury, the recently established apparel ‘cluster’ set up by Canterbury Development Corporation.

Catwalk fashions by Christchurch designer Caroline Moore.

Christine says the opportunity only arose when she saw the ARCE programme and suggested to the organisers that ClothesLink Canterbury stage a fashion show on their opening night.

“ARCE is a truly international event and our local designers are the only ones that have been offered this exclusive opportunity,” she says.

Snowy Peak Chief Executive, Peri Drysdale is placing such high importance on ARCE that she cancelled plans to show her Untouched World label at next month’s L’Oreal New Zealand Fashion Week in favour of the Canterbury fashion show, when developments in USA and UK made doing both impossible.

“I fully support L’Oreal New Zealand Fashion Week organiser, Pieter Stewart in her endeavours to promote New Zealand fashion but our team is going to be at full stretch with this Asian conference and a high level of activity in the USA,” says Peri Drysdale.

In addition, Peri Drysdale will be staging an exhibition stand for the duration of the convention, and hosting Mr Kazumasa Koshiba, Chairman of Asia’s leading fashion retailer, Isetan. Mr Kazumasa Koshiba is also Chairman of the Japan Retailers Association.

Fellow Canterbury designer and creator of New Zealand’s leading leatherwear label, Caroline Moore, says she’s thrilled to be involved.

“This is the most significant opportunity we’ve ever had to showcase Canterbury designs to such an important audience.”

Considering how individual all the designers are, she says it’s been an added bonus to be working co-operatively under the ClothesLink Canterbury banner. “Everybody’s really enjoying the camaraderie of it all,” says Caroline Moore.

“Christchurch has the best of fashion in New Zealand and the visiting retailers won’t be disappointed.”


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