Amid all the rumours and adversity NZ Fashion Week has made it to another year and our local fashion talent will be displayed nationally and internationally from September 3 to 9 in its new venue, the Viaduct Centre in Auckland.
Founded in 2001 by Pieter Stewart, Fashion Week has grown and diversified, attracting attention from buyers around the globe and also huge public interest with the public shows.
Let's not forget the famous designer garage sale, to which women from around the country flock in droves.
So, once again, the Sisters girls are dusting off their Chaos and Harmony heels, making appointments, fighting over outfits and getting ready to descend on Fashion Week.
And we are not the only local girls who are ready.
Despite being known as a beach town, our mighty Bay is home to some of the country's most eminent fashion talent, and it certainly has a strong presence at Fashion Week.
The gorgeous Teresa Hodges, from Blak Basics, is gearing up for her third Fashion Week show despite having just had baby number two and running her business single-handed.
Teresa is surprisingly calm.
She says, "I am feeling really organised and mellow.
"I love the new venue, which is so much more professional and has a fantastic high end vibe.
"I always enjoy doing the shows as it's great exposure nationally, which is awesome for my existing retailers and, hopefully, I might interest some offshore buyers."
Also debuting from the Bay is Elizabeth Turner of Riddle Me This.
This will be her first solo show and, despite this, she sounds pretty calm and relaxed.
Liz says, "I have a fantastic team helping me, including amazing stylist Zara Mirkin (fashion editor for NO magazine), who is helping in the process of communicating the look through jewellery, shoes and accessories for the show.
"I am also working with Chris Lorimer, from Ciel PR, so I have an awesome, inspirational team to work with."
Despite being only 23, Liz already has around 10 stockists nationwide and hopes to pick up some international interest to help grow her label.
Fashion Week would not be complete without the cool kids from You know we ain't limited. Designer for the company, Tamryn Reeve, uses Fashion Week to show their brands to stockists as well as seeing ranges for the Thanks stores and catching up with friends in the industry.
So, despite a lot of the major players in fashion, such as Karen Walker, Kate Sylvester and Kathryn Wilson not showing, there is still a lot on display.
We are super-excited about Ruby and Liam, who are returning to Fashion Week as the opening show. We are also thrilled about Trelise Cooper's absolutely extraordinary collections and, of course, seeing the Mount doing us proud with Blak Basics, Chaos and Harmony and Riddle Me This.
Stay tuned for a week full of frivolity, fun, fashion and faux pas with the Sisters girls and photographer Maree Wilkinson.
By Annemarie Quill
Kellie Taylor, owner and creative director of Moochi, is a veteran of New Zealand's fashion industry, but this is the first time Moochi will be showing at New Zealand Fashion Week.
"This year, we have been given the chance to do an in-season consumer show. We are showing spring looks launched the week before and the week after the show. Those at the show will be the first to see. We will start the show with a nod to our new Kiss-kiss logo.
"Then we are showing two different groups, each with their own mood and colour story. We have had fun working on very separate hair and makeup looks for these this week, with MAC and Schwarzkopf. We will show 32 looks and film the show, so we can share it with everyone the week after."
Kellie and her partner, Chris, lived at the Mount for 10 years and Kellie opened her first workroom in a tiny space on Maunganui Rd in July 2000, then opened a store in Auckland that September.
"The locals heard about it and were coming up the stairs to see what we were doing, so we extended our space and had a store attached to our Mount workroom. When we outgrew the space, we opened a store on Devonport Rd."
Kellie now has around 60 people working for her. The company is based in Auckland but retains the Devonport Rd store.
"Deciding to make the move to Auckland with the business was also sad for our customers, as we know the pride they felt in us being local. Their support was an important part of our success and we still tell people we started Moochi in the Mount. We always have wonderful Tauranga women working for us in our head office and in retail. It's amazing how often we talk abut the work ethic of the girls we work with from the Bay. They are often our stars. The Moochi team is working very hard to bring designs to the market every week, making almost all of what we create in New Zealand. We run a team and contribute to the industry and New Zealand economy. We are really proud of this."<inline type="photogallery" id="14386" align="outside" embed="no" />
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Over the years Kellie has seen many changes in the Bay fashion scene.
"The year we started our business three local designers closed their doors and we were really unsure if the Bay was keen to support local boutique fashion. We traded really well from day one and we were thrilled with the local support we received, both as a retailing designer and as a business. The first 10 years of business were through a very positive economic time, with businesses all around us flourishing.
"Definitely the change in economic performance for the globe and the area has had its effect on people and on retail, although we have been really pleased with how our store has been going.
"We have a lovely team in there and the product seems to be working very well; 2011-12 was a strong year for us overall, with some of our stores having their best year ever.
"There are new talents coming out of the Bay every year. We feel it was absolutely the best place we could have started our label. We were so free from the constraints of the city and what others thought we should be doing.
"I doubt we would have had the confidence to grow like we did if we were in Auckland from the start."
Kellie predicts five key looks for summer 2012/13:
Printed pants - These are hugely popular with our customers at the moment. We can't make them fast enough.
Colour - Try a head-to-toe colour look.
Metallic - A little touch of bling is always a winner.
Sportswear - Combine clean sportswear looks with luxe fabrications for a fresh look.
By Annemarie Quill
Mount-based Arielle Mermin is exhibiting her debut collection for Winter 2013 in the New Generation section of New Zealand Fashion Week.
The New Generation show is a much anticipated part of the event as it showcases new fashion talent and is usually made up of new designers who have one or two collections behind them.
"I am an unusual case for NZFW as most applications that are invited to show have at least several seasons under their belt.
"It's quite rare that a label will debut their whole range at Fashion Week and I honestly applied in hope but didn't expect to get in ... I sent in my previous work along with designs of my new collection.
"I am also incredibly fortunate to have wonderful mentors, peers and bosses who all wrote letters of recommendation on my behalf. I think the fact that I currently work in the industry as a part-time assistant pattern-maker, as well as having many years of experience in Los Angeles working in wardrobe and art departments, helped quite a lot as well.
"Or maybe they just really loved my designs."
Arielle says she is "ridiculously excited" to be representing the Bay of Plenty along with more seasoned
Mount Maunganui fashion designer Arielle Mermin.When I first came to NZ, I honestly felt like everyone was dressed (though very nicely) for a funeral - black was everywhere. Arielle Mermindesigners Moochi, Riddle Me This and Blak.
"I think we have a wonderful group of BOP talent showing. I am very humbled and excited to be categorised with those two companies, as they are both huge inspirations for me. The fact that Liz started so young and her level of success floors me.
"She is well beyond her years. And what Moochi has achieved is inspirational. I could only hope to follow in their footsteps."
Arielle completed the Fashion Design course at BOP Polytech last year where she was named Top Overall Designer at the end-of-year fashion show for her collection - True Grit.
She has recently set up her own fashion label/company, Arielle Mermin, which will reflect her roots in San Francisco as well as the Mount, which she calls home.
The collection she will show next week is called Some Girls, which is loosely based on the Rolling Stones' 1978 album and title track that was about all their groupies, who are Arielle's muses.
"I always refer to a certain style muse. Since I bought my first Rolling Stones album when I was 13, I have always been obsessed with their groupies, such as Marianne Faithfull, Anita Pallenberg, Jerry Hall and Bianca Jagger.
"They were and are always my end-all in terms of style icons. Somewhere in between them, throw in the likes of Cher (before the botox), David Bowie and non-musos like Grace Coddington, Iris Apnel and young modern girls like Alexa Chung."
"The collection has heaps of late 60s and 70s British throwbacks using lots of colour, patterns and textures. I made a point to not include any black. It is strongly vintage-inspired which is very true to my style aesthetic. I would like to think it's a really fun collection but not entirely bohemian either. There are quite a lot of tailored pieces with just slight relics of the past."
Arielle hopes her collection will inspire Kiwi girls to get into colour.
"I think I design for a woman who isn't afraid of colour, who is dynamic, exciting and fun. She's the woman who would wear a red dress to a function, not the typical LBD. Definitely someone who doesn't want to blend in with the crowd but also who isn't a snob about it either.
"My collection truly reflects why I started the label in the first place. I found there was a huge gap in the market for fun, vibrant lifestyle clothing for women in their late 20s and up. Most of the lifestyle clothing is either geared for 16 to young 20-year-olds (like street and surfwear) or for the older generation of ladies.
"I also found the brands that did cater to my age group were so severe in their styling. Lots of dark colours, lots of black chiffon. When I first came to New Zealand, I honestly felt like everyone was dressed (though very nicely) for a funeral - black was everywhere. I found it so strange simply because it is such a vibrant and beautiful country and Kiwis are such fun-natured people. I felt like the clothing completely went against the general vibe of the place."
Arielle says we will see a lot more colour again in Winter 2013.
"Generally, the rest of the world follows the four major cities so, presumably, next winter we'll see lots of purples, oranges, blue/black combos - lots of floral prints and velvets. I was mostly into the androgynous suiting for women and hope that gets carried through as well. As much as I love my jeans, nothing looks more stunning than a woman in a fabulous suit. That trend is really getting dynamic and exciting with all the prints and colours mixed in."