Sunday, October 18, 2009
Image /Crane Brothers
Weighing in on the Air New Zealand Fashion Week debate, Murray Crane had this to say on his blog:
"I have tried to be quite tight lipped over Fashion Week. Being involved in the past I have seen it from both sides as a guest and as a designer.
In this mornings Sunday Star Times there was an article that, in its precis form, was stating that there were designers unhappy with the amount of money they had spent on their shows and that in return they had received very little exposure and hadn't got any international orders.
These statements incense me so much!"
"To break it down to its simplest form, love or hate, Pieter Stewart has run this event for the last few years now and mock it all you want it is actually a designated week for the Fashion Industry to showcase its talent. The problem is that the talent is very thin on the ground.
What is worse is that to make the event a fiscal success* the organisers have to attract designers who are possibly not established enough to show.
This year with the world climbing out of a recession it seems that the organisers have had to scrape the bowl a little bit harder than usual and that their spoon has had to be licked a little bit longer.
To anonymously bitch and moan to the media that you are disappointed that you did not get any international orders says a lot about your label.
First of all you are too lazy or lack the talent to have a structured business plan that involves attracting international interest in your line.
Second, you are under some sort of delusion that by simply filling out a registration form and paying your fee that you are going to have Anna Wintour's number on your iPhone within a year. GROW UP AND GET REAL.
Obviously the week needs to be shorter and there needs to be a basic screening process to make sure that the event is something we can be proud of and excited by. If we as an industry aren't excited how can we expect our customers to be excited?
Whats more when did the media lose all of their teeth? Where is the next Stacey Gregg?
Nobody seems to have anything bad to say and choosing to say nothing doesn't achieve anything.
Every designer should be given the same column space and the same treatment. Press should be feared as well as revered.
Mediocrity is a dangerous thing.
*Breaking even or making a small loss in the Fashion Industry is generally considered a fiscal success."
From the Sunday Star Times article SHOW US THE MONEY, SAY ANGRY DESIGNERS:
"Pieter Stewart, managing director of NZ Fashion Week, says she has received no complaints from any of the designers who took part, and that sales always took time to come through. 'It's not like a shop,' Stewart said, 'It's a chance for designers to build long-term relationships.'
One designer, who did not want to be named, said she had not received a single international order despite spending more than $20,000 to show at Air New Zealand Fashion Week. Only a handful of international buyers attended. 'Every designer needs to ask themselves what their objectives are. If they are just doing it as a New Zealand marketing exercise then it can certainly achieve results for you... but if you are doing it for international sales or if you are trying to use it as a stepping stone to reach an international audience, I think it is very limited. There's a lot of hype, but is it truly translating into sales?'
She said she was aware of cases in the past where orders placed by overseas buyers never amounted to anything. 'Did they get paid for the order? No, often not, and the order has never been dispatched,' she said. 'There are some people who are able to make [Fashion Week] count, but I guess it's just far and few between.'
Another designer, who was also reluctant to be identified because of the potential backlash, said she had spent a 'small fortune' on her show in the hope of garnering some international orders, but none had materialised. 'It's very glitzy and glamorous but it's certainly not a money-making exercise for the designers. There was a disappointingly low number of international buyers there this year and they were keeping a pretty tight rein on their purse strings.'
World's Denise L'Estrange-Corbet is one of the few designers who is prepared to publicly question the merits of Fashion week. World returned to Fashion Week in 2008 after a three-year break, but did not show this year because L'Estrange-Corbet felt the cost was not worth it. 'What you should ask Fashion Week is if you can actually see the orders that designers have received. What I think happens is they bring people out, they place orders and they go back overseas and they cancel them all. So in the beginning designers get very excited thinking they have got orders, when in fact the people have just come on a junket.'
L'Estrange-Corbet said Fashion Week organisers always claimed the event generated tens of millions of dollars' worth of media exposure, but never explained how they gauged that: 'I never see anyone on the cover of US Vogue.' The event was overdue for an overhaul and she would not participate until that happened.
Stewart said a full debrief of Fashion Week had yet to occur but she had received only positive feedback. The international buyers who had attended were mainly agents for showrooms who would potentially be selling to between 50 and 200 outlets each, so orders would take time to filter through. 'From what I know there was a lot of business going on,' Stewart said. 'And you have to remember the show was taking place in a depressed international climate.'
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