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Young designers want fashion merit in capital

Apr 17th, 2012 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

YOUNG  local fashion designers hope to use the first Wellington Fashion Week starting on Wednesday to champion a talent-driven design culture.

Philipa Lake (right) and Alice Howard (left) are the creative pair behind local label philipa&alice.

The duo has aspirations to be part of a new design culture where ability, rather than money and contacts, prevail.

Miss Howard says a successful designer in the fashion industry needs good public relations to provide them with a start.

However, she believes the trade must take “a meritocratic approach” for New Zealand designers to succeed in the future.

“We’re hoping that our talent and having actual skills will be the thing to guide us through. We want to succeed based on our merits, rather than money and public relations,” says Miss Howard.

She says the philipa&alice label explores the spectrum of feminine identity by merging masculine tailoring with softer detail.

The clothes are targeted at a young, female market.

“Our designs suit someone who is a gutsy dresser. It’s very Wellington. We try to be slightly offbeat,” says Miss Howard.

Wellington Fashion Week is an event created to showcase young kiwi talent like philipa&alice alongside established designers.

Making its debut this year, the event celebrates the best of New Zealand fashion.

It aims to give emerging designers a chance to show their wares while networking with buyers and industry experts.

Media relations manager, Melissa Pearson, highlights young designers as being at the crux of Wellington Fashion Week’s vision.

“It is absolutely paramount for the industry to recognise these young designers, who will ultimately pave the way for New Zealand fashion and identity,” says Miss Pearson.

“It has been crucial for us to base involvement on creative talent and potential, as opposed to recognised stature within the industry.”

“We have worked tirelessly to create avenues for our young and emerging designers to excel professionally, providing exposure which leads to career and business progression within the industry,” says Miss Pearson.

Not only is Wellington Fashion Week held in the capital, but it is also accessible to the general public, unlike its Auckland counterpart, New Zealand Fashion Week.

It is not necessary to be an industry buyer, insider, member of the press or celebrity to attend the event.

Miss Howard says she anticipates that the event might help to keep young talent in Wellington.

“I think the whole fashion culture is much stronger here, but they’ve just got the money and the suppliers and everything up in Auckland,” says Miss Howard.

The designers hope that the opportunity to showcase their summer 2012/13 line at the Wellington event will help them to gain stockists.

“We will probably try to break into the international market in the next three years or so, but we would love to have a flagship store in Wellington for a start,” says Miss Howard.

They will be unveiling their latest designs at Wellington Fashion Week, which runs from April 18-22.

A list of events can be found at, where tickets can also be bought.


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is a Whitireia journalism student.
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