Retail, Innovation and Manufacturing reporter for the NZ Herald

International eyes on NZ Fashion Week

David Jones opened its first store in New Zealand last month and its purchasing team was making the most of Fashion Week.Photo / Viva
David Jones opened its first store in New Zealand last month and its purchasing team was making the most of Fashion Week.Photo / Viva

Representatives from Australian department stores David Jones and Myers attended New Zealand Fashion Week this year looking to scout some of New Zealand's top and emerging brands for their order books.

David Jones opened its first store in New Zealand last month on Wellington's Lambton Quay and general manager for womenswear Damian Bourke said its purchasing team was making the most of the week.

"As a premium department store we are always reviewing and refreshing our brand assortment," Bourke said.

"[We] are currently in conversation with a number of New Zealand brands about opportunities within David Jones, both here in New Zealand and Australia."

Bourke said the department store had had been well received since it opened four weeks ago.

"We're here this year to look for further opportunities, in particular for our Wellington store," Bourke said.

"With a new store in the New Zealand market it's important to us that local brands are well represented to provide our customers with the best assortment of local and international designers and brands."

Another international highlight of the week was the show from creative incubator F Square which featured a group of Malaysian designers showcasing their brands.

Newmarket Business Association chief executive Mark Knoff-Thomas said there was growing demand for international designs in New Zealand as well as increasing spend from overseas buyers.

"As a precinct, Newmarket has had some pretty stellar growth from international consumers," Knoff-Thomas said.

"Year-on-year to June we've gone up 24 per cent in spend from overseas which is massive," he said.

"The [Malaysian designs] are edgy, wearable, interesting and priced right for the New Zealand market so I think there's a really good opportunity to bring that into Newmarket."

International interest in New Zealand has grown significantly in recent years with brands such as H&M, Zara and Tiffany preparing to open flagship stores in Auckland before the end of the year.

Knoff-Thomas said he thought New Zealand hadn't previously understood what the fashion industry was worth to the economy but said emerging designers, including those from Malaysia, choosing to show at New Zealand Fashion Week was a positive sign.

"The fact that we're even on their radar is very exciting and that they see the opportunity to showcase the best of Malaysia to the market," Knoff-Thomas said.

"We are becoming more and more international and I think that's the way we have to be."

Viva Fashion Week Coverage

- NZ Herald

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