New Zealand Fashion Week kicks off today with Mercedes Benz Presents designers Madeleine Harman and Jessica Grubiša of Harman Grubiša opening the week. Harman spoke to Holly Ryan about the business side of presenting at the event.
How much does it cost to put on a show?
"How long is a piece of string... Depending on your level of showcase the show space alone, i.e. to exist on the Fashion Week calendar, can cost from $3,000 - $17,250. But New Zealand Fashion Week show venues are fully production-ready, so that takes all the hassle out of also having to front for thousands of dollars' worth of lighting and sound rigs, the cost of which would be much more that this initial investment. On top of this fixed site-fee, you have to create a budget for models, photographers, videographers, any collateral material i.e. invitations etc, obviously you have to cost in the range, any accessories - the list goes on. It is a huge undertaking for any designer anywhere - every single seat in that room has a very significant expense attached to it."
What are the benefits of showing at Fashion Week?
"First and foremost it is a platform to showcase to industry your perspective, your brand - what it is you have to offer. It is the one time of year where our wider network - wholesale, media, key industry leaders - are in one place to focus on the coming season. Our perspective is that experience in fashion is very important, and shows give you the chance to create a full sensory experience for your guests. Imagery - content and so forth created from a show like this is something that can help sustain our marketing calendar for the following six to twelve months and of course overall it builds brand awareness."
Do you see this driving people into the stores and increasing sales?
"Of course greater exposure in the market through television, radio, magazine, online and newspaper coverage has already meant that more people are familiar with the Harman Grubiša label and subsequently grown our customer base."
How has being the Mercedes Benz presents designer helped business?
"On the whole it's positioned Harman Grubiša as one of New Zealand's best new brands for directional, quality clothing. Mercedes-Benz are hugely supportive of fashion globally and it has been wonderful to partner with them so early in Harman Grubiša's journey. From our perspective we feel the partnership with Mercedes-Benz is a very authentic one as we share so many common brand values."
What are the specification around presenting a fashion show?
"To give some insight - the runway catwalk is near 8 metres wide and 30 metres long.
We are showcasing to a minimum of 600 people and at the moment the collection is sitting at around 27 to 30 looks total. We have 24 models, so likely three or four of those girls will have a change. Our music has to be well over 10 minutes long, just in case, our hair and makeup teams are bigger than we've ever had previously. No matter how prepared you are, come show day everyone is really zooming."