Fashion Week gets down to business

By Zoe Walker

The Asia/Pacific head of online store my-wardrobe.com Madeleine Allman at New Zealand Fashion Week. Photo / Babiche Martens
The Asia/Pacific head of online store my-wardrobe.com Madeleine Allman at New Zealand Fashion Week. Photo / Babiche Martens

As New Zealand Fashion Week winds down the business side really begins, with retailers deciding whether they will place orders from the collections presented on the runway this week.

Madeleine Allman attended NZFW this year from Australia, where she heads up the business for luxury online boutique My-wardrobe.com in the Asia Pacific region.

The webstore was started by Sarah Curran in the UK in 2006, with the Guardian reporting that sales grew 68 per cent in the first half of last year, while sales in the Australian region grew 141 per cent.

Australia - and by extension New Zealand - is seen as a major growth market by many international fashion online stores, including ASOS.com and Net-a-Porter.com. Allman says the whole Asia Pacific region is important to My-Wardrobe, with development and localised strategies into Singapore and New Zealand.

"The European and American markets are slower. They're growing, but at the rate we're growing, we're going to see a lot of the business growth come from this region."

The online boutique has stocked New Zealand label Stolen Girlfriends Club for two seasons, with potential for more. Allman says there are three or four labels seen this week that she will suggest to the webstore's buying director: she was impressed by Zambesi, Juliette Hogan, Andrea Moore and New Generation label Daniel K.

"It's not just the design and creative element - it's where they are with their business," says Allman, who leaves Auckland today. Designers need to have a strong marketing and business strategy if they want to grow internationally and online, and their own ecommerce platforms too says Allman.

"You can tell straight away when you talk to them," she says. "There's an immaturity to some designers, business wise. You know that in a couple of years that they'll be absolutely fabulous - they just need time."

There has been a strong online element to this year's Fashion Week, with around 80 bloggers registered as delegates and online livestreaming of certain shows. NZFW founder Dame Pieter Stewart said prior to the week that she invited a number of online stores to attend this year.

"I see that's really the best growth area for designers."

Yesterday was the final full day of shows at NZFW, with Len Brown lending a chivalrous hand to a wobbly model at Australian designer Charlie Brown's show, to applause from the audience. Annah Stretton revisited the infamous boar's head, originally sent down the runway in 2004.

Today is the final day of NZFW, with the Miromoda group show, Westpac Red Collection show and an installation from Huffer. The public focused New Zealand Fashion Weekend begins tomorrow.

- NZ Herald

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