As NAC International Fashion Week has come to a close, it's refreshing to see that their introduction of both young designers from China to the local market, and the support this year of a group of up and coming indigenous New Zealand labels, gives us all an opportunity to view what the future holds.With each designer showing developing their fashion sense from their own cultures, NACFW allowed a view on each to the world and the way these add to their individual design aesthetic.
Designers coming from backgrounds as diverse as Universities and provinces throughout China, and a group of young Maori designers showing here alongside more established local talent, introduced all to not only New Zealand but also those travelling to participate from China. In these days of fast fashion and global corporate structures, it's a fantastic thing that these designers new to the industry can find this support.
Amanda Deng and her team have brought into New Zealand some of the leaders in the Chinese fashion world, including the vice president of Shanghai Fashion Week amongst other notables, and exposed the industry there to some of what New Zealand has to offer. They have created an event that not only supports the future of Chinese fashion and given them a chance to showcase it internationally, but are finding ways to reciprocally do the same with our local talent.
Sitting within the week they've also managed to find a way to create an opportunity for exposure to prospective models, by engaging a local competition with the 3 winners all to travel to Shanghai for the finals, to be involved in the highly respected and huge Shanghai Fashion Week, and the chance to shine on the world stage.
The Chinese market is huge, and incredibly important for NZ - it's a major achievement if we can take this opportunity and use it to encourage the future of our fashion industry, supporting the creativity and sense of the "new" that these days entrants to the field find harder and harder to make their presence felt in.
We look forward to this venture growing in stature and visibility here, and look forward to seeing some of these designers and models making their mark on the international stage!
Words and photography by David K. Shields.