Thursday, June 17, 2010
Whats our look?
I like to think of our little island in the Pacific as something unique. Not because we are quite literally detached from the rest of the world, or the fact that no one can say "Fish and Chips" quite like us - No. It's because no matter where in the world you travel, people are truly intrigued about our corner of the planet. We have so many things that America, Europe and Australia (but they'll surely steal it soon enough) don't have. And style is one of those things. Now don't get me wrong, we have our fair share of 'Slip-ups' in this country, and we can be lazy as all hell - but for those who make a proper effort, i think i can honestly say that us kiwis can be pretty
But there is a flip side to this slickness. And that is the fads. It seems like anyone with a camera these days is a 'photographer', anyone with a sewing machine is a 'fashion designer', and anyone who can pretty much put clothes on their backs are 'stylists' - and this is the foggy line between the future WORLD's, Zambesis, Nom*Ds and Kate Sylvesters, and the drop-kicks you'll eventually see in a years time - probably drinking at the same bar, talking about how they "hung out with Mark from Cobrasnake." That makes you wonder who will make it and why.
I don't want to preach, predict or plug what i think deserves to take the place of next generation kiwi fashion, but now that technology is so readily available and our designs are easily accessible to the international stage - I'm afraid I'm going to have to. Unlike the late 90's when becoming a fashion designer was something real - and easy, back before blogs, fads and copycats, there were gaps in the market. Gaps that needed to be filled with direction, focus and originality - by those who we now recognize as our top New Zealand fashion designers that have put our name, New Zealand on the global fashion map. These days there are fewer gaps. We don't need another Ksubi. Really, we're good. The last thing i need right now is another campaign with some underage girl who has obviously been told she's going to make it big, if she poses topless with lank hair and drab makeup in some crap motel. That shit is not edgy. Please. Give NZ more 'props' than that guys.
So far we have a huge range of up-and-comers, but what does this mean? How do we define success nowadays? Is it who you're represented by? Where you sell your product? How many followers you have of Twitter?? How are we supposed to know??
One thing that i do see lacking in this industry is true creative talent. Designers who create what inspires them. Not people who call themselves designers, but instead travel to China and buy bulk rip-offs. This is a design fail. In fact, it's not design at all, and these 'so called' designers are in fact manufacturers pure and simple. Take an idea, copy it, pretend it is yours, voila, fame. They should be recognized for what they are. Charlatans.
However, i know that the industry cannot be what it is without those who rip-off the international trends. We need them to keep the mainstream fashion industry afloat. If all we had were visionaries - we would go belly-up, because it's only a small percentage of people who truly understand and appreciate original ideas. And we also need them to have as a comparison of what fashion shouldn't be.
So far, there are dozens of people established with their own stores and are represented by PR agents who set up 'swanky' events to promote the brand - but this doesn't excite people enough to carry these brands into the future. How many times do we hear that yet another fashion house is sinking in the toilet? Not just in NZ, but overseas as well. It's a tough business.
To focus on who is hot - what brands are covering the backs of New Zealand's slickest?
So far, I've picked up on a handful. None of which are represented by agents or have any strategy with advertising. Just young up-and-comers with a fresh approach to style.
Firstly i feel i must mention Areez Katki. This young man is a knitting genius. His eye for detail and complex pattern work within his pieces are astounding. Although he is limited in ways of developing a collection - his work is undoubtedly an expression of his personality.
Secondly i must mention Kylie McKenzie. She is the one covering the accessories side of things with her label 'Dear Prudence'. Bags made from deer, cow-hide, and old faithful - leather. The concept behind her brand is playing with shapes and textures, as well as designing what she would like to wear - and ultimately what she would like to see other people wearing. And although only babies - these are the talents built into those who will fill the gaps in the kiwi fashion market. No more jeans, jumpers made entirely out of 'fashion rips', Doc Martins and hot pants. Yes we all make mistakes. And now it's time to move on.