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NZFW public shows rival VIP events
Sat, 08 Sep 2012 6:23p.m.
By Samantha Hayes
Fashion Week opened its doors to the public today – a crucial part of the trade event as designers showcase their current ranges, not to the fashion elite, but to potential customers.
Next year's event will be even more open and may have new management at the helm.
By mid-morning today, the queue to get inside was long and growing. Budding fashionistas paid $15 to get glammed up, hunt for a bargain or take in a runway show.
“I've never been to a fashion week ever, so to be in New Zealand and to be at a New Zealand one is really cool,” says Fashion Weekend attendee Britni Burdette.
“[There is] just so much choice under one roof and also we're going to the Ruby show and the Smashbox show,” says Linda Roberts.
Around 15,000 will take in current fashions – a number that's beginning to rival the exclusive Fashion Week pack who attends invitation-only shows of next season's wares.
“That's always been a criticism,” says Fashion Week brand manager Myken Stewart. “I'm the sponsorship manager and for the sponsor they get to reach the 20,000 delegates and VIPs and designer guests, but we also want to reach the public.”
Sponsorship is crucial for the annual event, which costs between $2 million and $3 million, and the organisers admit funding it has been tough.
Despite that and some renegade shows a week earlier, founder Pieter Stewart remains resilient.
“[We have] absolutely no intention of stopping fashion week,” says the managing director. “It's a well-established brand and it will go on long after me I expect.”
After 12 years, 2013 may have a different management team.
‘I'm hoping somebody might take it over from me. I've done it 12 years but I’m not going to stop right yet. But I'm going to have three grandchildren by the end of the year.”
“I will be here but in a different capacity because I'm going to have a little baby,” says Ms Stewart.
It's likely Fashion Week next year could look very different, with just three days of traditional shows for official delegates to get the trade component out of the way quickly, followed by three days of open season for the public, where designers can showcase what's currently in stores and sell directly to their customers.
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