Sunday Star-Times

NZ rag trade hard work

- CHLOE WINTER

Post and KiwiBank outlet is a one-stop-shop for banking, postal and civic services, such as passport photos and car registrati­on.

Under the proposed changes, postal services would be moved into a local business, while Kiwibank would shift its services to Kilbirnie.

NZ Post shop numbers have been dwindling for some years as many outlets are taken over by nearby businesses or shut down entirely. Out of 883 NZ Post ‘‘points of services’’ nationwide, more than 780 are now integrated into a local business. That’s almost 90 per cent.

But NZ Post is legally required by the Government to maintain at least 880 over-the-counter postal services. That is being done through bookshops and other retail businesses, some of which are open longer than the traditiona­l six-day-a-week PostShops.

It’s now been over a year since former Labour leader Andrew Little promised Labour would reopen community police kiosks.

Mt Roskill MP Michael Wood said this week that he was advocating for the implementa­tion for the police kiosks as quickly as possible. To survive as a fashion label in New Zealand, you have to be the tortoise, not the hare, WORLD coowner Francis Hooper says.

The top New Zealand fashion designer says being a Kiwi fashion brand is ‘‘the best the in the world’’, but it is also a ‘‘very, very rare creature’’.

‘‘To make it work as a designer, and as a made-in-New Zealand fashion brand, you have to work harder than most to succeed.

‘‘Hard work is a given when you are building a fashion empire. You have to take the stairs, never the lift.’’

Earlier this month, Kiwi fashion label Andrea Moore went into liquidatio­n and receiversh­ip citing ‘‘highly damaging’’ late deliveries, ‘‘crippling’’ creditor payments, and extensive roadworks for its sudden collapse.

It was the fifth fashion brand to fail in New Zealand during the past year.

Meanwhile, WORLD, which was founded in 1989 by Hooper and then-wife Dame Denise L’Estrange-Corbet, will be launching its 56th season this year.

The key to staying relevant, and staying afloat, was to keep changing and having fun by creating new and exciting clothes to wear, Hooper said.

‘‘To survive today … when physically everything we make is here and then shipped, is very hard indeed, but that is the hand we have been dealt.

‘‘We refuse to make our collection­s in a third world country, so we have to be different, be special and, most of all, be a brand that is glitter filled in a marketplac­e, which is filled with boring product,’’ he said.

‘‘WORLD has always been very extravagan­t in design but in business we have always been very conservati­ve. To survive in New Zealand you have to be the tortoise not the hare.’’

Meanwhile, shoe designer Rebecca Anderson, who is the creative director of Chaos & Harmony, is just about to hit her 10 year milestone.

Anderson said to make it work in New Zealand, designers needed to stay on course, and focus on their core business.

‘‘Don’t get distracted,’’ she said. ‘‘For me, being around people keeps me in tune with what’s happening. When you stay close to your customers, you stay in touch with their needs and wants. I think it’s important to not become ‘untouchabl­e’.’’

It was also important to be distinct in the market, but it had to be natural, not forced, Anderson said.

‘‘I’ve also found it helps to realise you can never be everything to everyone. Once you accept that, you can just focus on what you do best.’’

Remix magazine editor and fashion director Steven Fernandez said there was no ‘‘blanket approach’’ to being a successful New Zealand fashion label.

However, the ones ‘‘making waves’’ nationally and overseas were all ‘‘thinking outside the box in terms of their designs, their marketing and their service’’.

Retail was a hard game, but there are players in it who have survived for decades, Fernandez said.

‘‘I think the common thread that exists in these Kiwi fashion houses is a healthy mix of business and creativity.

‘‘Strategic planning as a business is just as important as staying on-trend as a designer.’’

which is on at Puke Ariki museum in New Plymouth, is revealing in several ways, according to organisers.

The exhibition, curated and toured by the New Zealand Fashion Museum, shows just societies changing attitudes towards modesty over the last 100 years.

Although the over-the-knee swimming dress hasn’t quite made a come back as beach garb, the vintage style of the dress itself can be seen throughout women’s clothing stores today.

‘‘We’ve had people come in and say ‘my mum had those togs’ or cringe at what they wore in the 1970s,’’ Kate McKenzie Pollack, curator at Puke Ariki, said.

Fashion designer Doris de Pont curated and sourced the pieces from all across the country.

In terms of bikinis and onepieces from the decades popping up again, this was a focus of the exhibition.

‘‘We’ve sourced some new season swimwear that have some really retro influences like the 1980s high cut style has some back.’’

The new season swimwear is from Kiwi designers such as Moontide, Jennifer Dean, and Lonely whose advertisin­g campaigns have focused on body positivity.

Modesty didn’t just apply to women in New Zealand 100 years ago either. Up until 1936 men were not allowed to show their naval, so beach wear consisted of full body suits rather than the casual board shorts we are used to seeing today.

Retro styles seem to have made a comeback due to there not being a style of our current times.

‘‘There’s not such a distinctiv­e style in fashion these days,’’ McKenzie Pollack said.

The Puke Ariki exhibition, which has already attracted 12,000 visitors since opening last month, runs until the end of February.

 ??  ?? Francis Hooper and Denise L’Estrange-Corbe
Francis Hooper and Denise L’Estrange-Corbe

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