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Online shops vital to NZ designers
Tue, 04 Sep 2012 6:36p.m.
By Kate Rodger
Online shopping is changing the face of retail the world over, and as New Zealand Fashion Week kicks off today, it’s clear our own local designers are having to change the way they do business too.
Big names like Karen Walker stock more than 600 stores globally, and online is a major part of their offshore business model.
NZFW is off out of the starting blocks and onto the catwalk, with its first full day showcasing our local designers and their wares.
This is the business of fashion. It’s all about tempting overseas buyers as well as the local ones, and marketing their brand.
Retail is evolving. There's a huge swing to online shopping, and in order to survive our designers must evolve with it.
“The main reason for us going online is that we want to break into the Australian market,” says fashion designer Juliette Hogan. “We've just taken on a PR company over there. Now if we get press in Australia, people are going to be able to jump online and access the goods straight away.”
Ms Hogan is just one of many designers changing focus.
Karen Walker is one of our most recognised international brands, stocking hundreds of stores around the world.
She has had an online presence for more than eight years. Around 75 percent of those online sales are offshore.
“I think we sell to about 30 or 40 online stores around the world,” says Walker. “It’s just part of the business. There are some stores that are physical and some are virtual, and they each have their own strengths and weaknesses.”
“I think it's definitely changing the retail environment that we're in,” says Dan Gosling of label Stolen Girlfriends Club. “Obviously a lot more people are shopping online. It has its advantages and disadvantages. It brings people into the store who see things online. They're a lot more informed about what you have in-store. But they can either buy it over the internet or they can come in and try it on.”
Stolen Girlfriends Club showcases its range through its own site as well as through big online stores like ASOS.
For designer Twenty-Seven Names, having a bricks-and-mortar retail store keeps its business more streamlined.
“Having an online store is something we can do without having to take on a role of essentially having another entire business,” says Rachel Easting of Twenty-Seven Names.
The impact of online is just the latest challenge facing our designers. Their immediate one is still getting their collections onto the catwalk in time for the lights to go down.
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