Retail does not exist without the replenishment from the designers, and our cool little style capital is home to some exceptional designers. The range of output is stupendous. It covers all bases from the avant garde art-performance-garments of Hermione Flynn to the delightful inventions of Starfish and the fluid silhouettes from Philippa & Alice. These designers export: both their garments and their design stories. Many Wellington designers regularly show in the long-established fashion shows of Dunedin, Auckland, Melbourne and New York. Their works are featured in the international press, both magazines and online, and many overseas boutiques make room for a showing of local labels. Such international applause is not given to the sleepy.
For established and emerging designers, Wellington’s being home to Massey University’s fashion design school is simply treasure, and many well-known names like Alexandra Owen have been through their courses. The school’s curriculum, access to professionals in the trade, and its annual show more than hint that this part of the economy has weight. The fashion school pinpoints Wellington as a destination where things are happening -- a fact supremely buttressed by the city also being host to the World of WearableArt competition and extravaganza.
So many factors support Wellington as a fashion hub, and this year’s Wellington Fashion Week will promote the city, the region, and all who take part in its exuberance. In particular, the week’s runway events will exhibit a number of new labels who, in spite of economic sluggishness, have emerged because they are driven by inspiration and accomplishment.
The label Kelsey Genna, established last year, will show her work which is very limited (editions of ten), and predominantly sells online. We will get to see her trim use of mouth watering colours like berry fruits mixing with the peaceful marzipan shades of cream and pink. We will see Silence Was, established in 2011 with an emphasis on a romantic and bespoke tailoring ethic. And we will see Nouveau, a range from Pixel Ink which promotes an urban, street-wear graphic thrust – quite often eccentric and quizzical like their Tourist Box T-shirt showing a tui seemingly using an old Victorian bellows camera to take our photo. Wonderful.