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Talented new comers to take centre stage

Talented new comers to take centre stage

A 13 year-old schoolgirl from rural Hawkes Bay and a former criminal barrister from Auckland are just two of the promising designers who will feature debut collections in this year's L'Oréal New Zealand Fashion Week.

Twenty vastly different designers will tread the boards of the Fashion Week catwalk for the first time this year, with the work of half of these talented newcomers showing collections in the Verge New Generation category.

The Verge New Generation collection will be one of the most anticipated categories.

"There is intense local and international interest in the event as a successful promoter of the collective of New Zealand fashion designers," L'Oréal New Zealand Fashion Week managing director Pieter Stewart says.

The ten Verge New Generation collections will be exhibited across two shows and include Wellingtonian Angeline Harrington (Angeline Harrington), Te Kaihou Ngarotata (Ngati Babe) from Hawkes Bay and seven Auckland designers, Jason Barrow (Catch), Cybèle Wiren (Cybèle), Helen Talbot (Helen Talbot), Duncan Korsten (Ink'd), Kristen Walker (Kristen), Campbell and Valeria Bevan and Austin Moncrief (Sidewalk) and Nadine Freundlich (Zýa).

The most recent addition to the Verge New Generation category is Wayne Goldsmith who makes a return to the New Zealand fashion industry with her label IDXU.

Creating a buzz with her label Ngati Babe is talented Waipukurau teenager Te Kaihou Ngarotata. The youth-oriented streetwear label burst onto the fashion scene only two years ago. Within that short space of time Te Kaihou with her mother as manager has taken on a fulltime team of 39 to help create her distinctively New Zealand designs.

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Successful barrister Helen Talbot decided to swap crime for couture and has been successfully retailing her label through her flagship Auckland store for the past 18 months. With a style that draws influences from art, the orient, historic costume and the street, Talbot demonstrates just why Kiwi fashion is considered distinctively different.

With hundreds of buyers from Britain, Europe, USA, Asia and Australia all clamouring to attend the event, organisers expect the previous years' scramble to sign up New Zealand labels will be repeated in 2003.

One fledgling label hoping to secure big orders in Japan and Britain off the back of their first Fashion Week appearance is Sidewalk, described by its trio of Waiheke based designers as a convergence between moving art and street couture.

While Stewart expects that some Verge New Generation designers will follow the meteoric rise of several previous Fashion Week newcomers, she is also realistic that Fashion Week is a make or break opportunity for aspiring designers.

"Whilst it is part of the selection criteria that designers are export ready we can never predict which emerging designers will capitalise and thrive on the production and business demands that can arise out of Fashion Week," Stewart says.

Although not appearing on the catwalk this year, the names behind the well-established fashion label Verge have lent their support to the event, not just as sponsors of the New Generation shows but also in offering business assistance these designers.

Verge director and designer Ian Webster says the commitment Verge has made is beyond the catwalk.

"We are relishing our role as mentors and hope the experience we can draw on from our years in business will prove valuable for these exciting emerging talents," Webster says.

Other promising newcomers exhibiting in group shows include Alan Mok (Alan Mok), Alma Joung (Alma Joung), Avis Sim (Avvisuar), Teri Johnson (Glory), Jill Alexander (Madcat), Miranda Brown (Miranda Brown), Takaaki Sakaguchi (Sakaguchi) along with a collective from Westfield Style Pasifika.

New Zealand has an international reputation for producing designers with raw talent and the inclusion of a fashion collection by textile artist Miranda Brown perfectly illustrates New Zealanders' unique affinity with their natural environment.

Fashion doyenne Barbara Lee makes her first L'Oréal New Zealand Fashion Week appearance with a collection combining the sensual with the theatrical, while Karen Walker, who has spent recent years focussing on her off shore profile, also joins the schedule for the first time.

"The raw beauty of New Zealand fashion has a distinct allure and the event provides a huge boost to a local industry which relies heavily on export business, " says Stewart.

"In just three short years, L'Oréal New Zealand Fashion Week has stamped itself on to the world fashion map and our task is to continue to sustain and grow every aspect of our brand."

About L'Oréal New Zealand Fashion Week:

After just three years, L'Oréal New Zealand Fashion Week has cemented its place on the global fashion stage. New Zealand Fashion has come of age and L'Oréal New Zealand Fashion Week is now a brand in its own right. New Zealand designers are proud of their New Zealand identity - they have the confidence to be daringly different and are proud to strut the raw beauty of their heritage under the spotlight of Fashion Week. >From October 19 to 24, 2003, New Zealand designers present the first Fall/Winter collections for 2004. L'Oréal New Zealand Fashion Week attracts international buyers and media backed by the strong support of government, industry and a family of committed big brand sponsors

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