I just watched Media 7’s post-Fashion Week report on TVNZ ondemand. Russell Brown sat down with guests Deborah Pead, Noelle McCarthy and Trish (?) for a good chat about the high level of media coverage of NZ Fashion Week.
It was an interesting discussion – it’s true that there’s a disproportionate amount of coverage on Fashion Week. As Noelle said, fashion brings in lower export earnings than onions. But people will always jump all over something a bit glitzy, and Fashion Week is definitely as glitzy as we’ll ever get here in New Zealand (now that those Louis Vuitton races have long since departed our shores).
But I did think one thing was left out – in my opinion, all that mainstream media coverage is due in part to all those mainstream media people – the reporters, the journalists, the producers – wanting to get out of their offices and along to New Zealand’s only glitzy event. It’s hard to resist the pull of the goody bags, the celeb spotting, the free alcohol, the chance to dress up and celebrate the fact that, hey we’re media, and we have access to things Joe Public doesn’t, so let’s milk it till it’s dry. And the more coverage those media groups promise, the better their seats are, the bigger the goodie bags, the greater the chance of sitting next to a celeb.
The standard of fashion reporting in this country is ludicrously low; for a place that prides itself on a semi-thriving fashion industry, there are very few people in the media willing to go out there and put their names on the line and say – that NZ designer is ripping off that international designer, or, having a Kate Sylvester dress in the main Fashion Week campaign was a PR mistake. So it seems we have (some) world class designers but we certainly don’t have world class fashion media!
I had one reporter tell me in the media room that she hadn’t liked the show we’d just seen, but her editor had told her she had to write a nice review about it because the designer had called to complain about a slightly scathing review of a previous collection.
If such a disproportionate amount of coverage is going to continue to be given to Fashion Week and fashion in general, I hope that some of the mainstream media might begin to take an objective look at what’s actually going on here. Isn’t the role of the media to take an unbiased approach to news? At the moment most fashion reporting reads like rehashed press releases. Media 7 seems to be the only group taking an educated, responsible look at the New Zealand media coverage of the event.
Something has to change!
Thanks to Paul Blomfield for the heads up about the interview.
All photograbs from TVNZ ondemand.