New Zealand Fashion Week will return to Auckland in 2021, Spy can reveal.

Founder and managing director Dame Pieter Stewart told Spy she was reviving the showpiece - the event's 20th year - after it was a casualty of Covid-19 this year.

The highlight of NZ's fashion calendar will be held at Auckland Town Hall and Aotea Square from August 30 to September 5 next year.


"I have no doubt that New Zealand fashion will come out of this stronger. Next year will be the 20th anniversary of New Zealand Fashion Week – and we look forward to staging a phenomenal event that showcases the best of our local designers," says Stewart.

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Global fashion weeks became online-only events and Stewart said she had no regrets about canning the 2020 show, despite a revamped location and promotional plan to capitalise on its growing success - last year's 50 events involving 100 designers attracted some 30,000 people.

"Whilst online platforms have become much more important to designers, digital events cannot take the place of the excitement, emotion and buzz generated at live gatherings, or the value of interacting directly with the consumer and I expect going forward that designers will hold their customer at the centre of their promotions."

Dame Pieter Stewart and Myken Stewart. Credit: Herald on Sunday Photograph by Norrie Montgomery.
Dame Pieter Stewart and Myken Stewart. Credit: Herald on Sunday Photograph by Norrie Montgomery.

News of NZFW's return has been welcomed by designers Adrian Hailwood and Zambesi's Elisabeth Findlay. Hailwood has shown at fashion week every year since the label began.

"It is a hugely important aspect of our overall marketing and sales plan, delivering local and international publicity, whilst also driving new revenue and sales accounts throughout the country," Hailwood said. "We love the creative outlet for our very glamorous showpieces worn at special occasions by our faithful followers."

Findlay said fashion week was the vital centrepiece of the local industry. "It is hugely important not only to the designers, but also to our photographers, stylists, media, creatives, publicists and make-up artists. It has a fundamental role in supporting a significant chunk of our creative industry, and we're very pleased to hear it will return in 2021."

NZFW Brand and commercial manager Myken Stewart confirmed returning sponsorship from businesses including Heart of the City, Keith Hay Homes and Tatty's. Full details on the event programme, sponsor line-up and activation plans will be unveiled early next year.