Summer puts heat on seasonal fashion

By Sonya Bateson

The drought is hitting an unlikely sector - the fashion industry.

A state of drought was officially declared throughout the Bay of Plenty last month and the deepening crisis is taking a toll on farmers and, it appears, fashion outlets.

February 28 marked the end of summer and the start of autumn but there is no sign of the big dry abating.

Most chain stores have set seasons for clothing and stock is pre-ordered but few shoppers are looking for winter clothes because of the sizzling weather.

A survey of five women's clothing stores in the Tauranga CBD showed all had warm clothes such as knitwear and jackets displayed prominently, with the summer stock being placed on sale racks.

Bright colours were also missing, with autumnal colours such as reds and oranges featuring heavily.

Greer Thomsen, 21, was hitting Tauranga's streets to find a summer dress. She said finding anything summery had been a struggle.

"It's really hard, it's coming up to the change of season so right now we're between seasons with clothes. It's autumn now, but it's still hot so I'm looking for summery clothes. There is still some on sale but it's hard to find something nice and in the right size."

Miss Thomsen said she had been buying winter clothing because they were there, but they weren't what she was looking for.

Jeans West manager Alyssa Craig said they'd had a lot of people walk out, put off by the warm clothes.

"They're being put off by all that heavy product.

"All of our summer stock is on sale and shorts are still really wanted, but being in clothing, we always have to bring in the clothing earlier than the actual season."

Shopper Patti Gwynne, of Mount Maunganui, visited Repertoire seeking an outfit for a summer wedding.

She said she had been into a number of shops and it had been hard to find lighter clothing.

"I'm heading to Italy for a wedding in August so it will be summer and I'm looking for something that works for that. All of the summer clothes tend to be ones that haven't sold but I heard that Repertoire had clothes that worked for both seasons, so here I am."

Tania Hilliam, from Just Jeans, said she had been selling knits and leather jackets but not other winter clothing.

"Everyone is out of fashion because of the warm weather, they're all cruising around in old-fashioned summer gear."

Lisa Golding, from Pagani, said their sales hadn't been too bad as they were only getting in their winter gear gradually.

"We've still got heaps of summer stock and lots on sale too.

"We're doing pretty good, people are starting to buy warmer stuff but we're bringing it in gradually."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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