#201 NZ Fashion Journalism Part 2… The Debate Continues

It would seem that the state of fashion journalism here in New Zealand is of considerable interest to a lot of you, so I wanted to publish some of the feedback I’ve received.

Yesterday was fascinating for me. After commenting on a great piece of journalism from TVNZ ondemand’s show Media 7 – and on what I see as a huge amount of media coverage on New Zealand Fashion Week in the form of low standard journalism – plenty of diverse opinions came out. It was particularly interesting that some of the people (possibly media themselves?) commenting on this blog did not do so publicly, choosing to write under the easy pseudonym “Anonymous”. It follows my argument that the New Zealand fashion media are all too often afraid to give their real opinions about New Zealand designers for fear of repercussions – will the designer still be nice to me if I write what I really thought about their collection? Or, I just received all these free/cheap clothes from that designer, shouldn’t I say nice things about the clothes? Or, if I tell the truth, will that designer pull their advertising dollar from my publication?

Here were some of the comments I received:

Is any reporting, whether it be fashion or entertainment or even possibly hard news, ever really objective? Regardless of my cynicism, I respect what you’re saying Isaac. Let me know when you get your first designer hissy fit, and let’s compare notes! :)
x Zoe
Zoe Walker – features writer for Viva/NZ Herald.

NZFW gets coverage because people love looking at other people, and this sells more papers/gets more online traffic etc. More readership means more advertising revenue…

No matter how many journalists (fashion or otherwise) want to believe that they are unbiased and objective, at the end of the day one can’t bite the hand that feeds you and if a designer is spending thousands of dollars in advertising with a magazine or newspaper, a bad review will not go to print (whether it’s the editor or journalist that makes the final call) because small NZ publications can not afford to lose such revenue at the expense of writing a critical and unsavoury review.

It happens all over the world, just on a larger scale in New Zealand because we are small and there is virtually no disposable money in our fashion industry. Every New Zealand editor must ‘keep the advertisers happy’ if they intend to continue to make a profit, whether it’s for APN, APC, TVNZ, Pacific or an independent publication/blog, whatever, as long as advertising subsidies journalism, there is never going to be any ‘true’ objectivity in mainstream media when it comes to our small fashion scene.

Having seen first hand the bias and fluffing of such reviews on New Zealand fashion., Fashion Week being a pearler of an example, witnessing writers true thoughts of a show, followed by a weak and sickeningly nice review.

As much credibility as you lose by remaining anonymous and making anonymous comments and reviews, maybe New Zealand needs more anonymity so what needs to be said can be.

To which I replied:
I wholeheartedly disagree. What New Zealand needs is a bunch of journalists, proper journalists, who are willing to get out there and tell the truth and put their names to it. I think posting nasty or honest things about anyone under an anonymous name is cowardly and promotes bad feelings rather than promoting journalistic integrity – which is what we need so badly!

I received this email last night about the Media 7 report and my blog-post from an associate who wishes to remain unnamed.

There are a number or different things that I see happen – the really well connected PRs have mates in the top rating tv shows, so you see stories that just cannot be justified ending up being big items on CloseUp, Campbell and others.

Then you see the dumb ‘alternative view’ approach where ill-suited journalist (specifically chosen to be a mis-fit) goes along wanting to take the piss. I’m sure that Deborah (Pead) leveraged this anti-fashion sentiment to get her over-sized men’s fashion item on tele – which was, simply, blatant PR.

Sadly neither of these approaches get us any items of real interest at all – it is either PR or paparazzi and little in between.

The stories I wanted to see but never emerged:

· When World duo say they missed fashion week for a few years because they were “showing in Paris” – did they actually do a show – or did they in fact just take a trade fair stand at a trade event in Paris?

· Let’s go looking in stores in international markets and see if we can find NZ garments on the racks – I think that some are actually doing business and selling garments, but many do the ‘we sell all over the world’ line and noone looks further. Let’s see some examples.

· How was it that Kate Sylvester won last year’s Air New Zealand export award, only to use that travel budget to NOT show at our fashion week? This patently was a surprise to most or I doubt that Air NZ would have used an outfit from them if they’d had any indication. This outrageous slap in the face was taken without comment!

· Why were there no buyers this year at what your panel described as a trade event. The ‘delegate’ numbers were through the roof, but the ‘buyer’ numbers through the floor – I find this very worrying as the sustainability of the event must surely be based on this.

· Simon Lock was here from IMG – was he here to look at buying NZ fashion week or not? What would a sale potentially mean to our fashion industry? What would its value be? Does Pieter have the heart to continue…

I’m eager to hear everyone’s thoughts, so don’t forget to comment!

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  1. Anonymous says

    i love what you are doing here Isaac!! keep it going!!

    I would like to raise few points about who and “what” came to ANZFW as VIPs this season and previous seasons…

    Brian Long, who calls himself Nicky Hilton’s stylist or PR firm? his stories always change every year. I know his bf pays his own bill to come over here but Brian doesn’t. He does nothing in Miami.. if he is sooo important, why would he be here in NZfw instead of NY or London fashion week?

    I know Dazed and Confused media from last year wasn’t a writer nor contributor to D&C magazine.. she was a secretory… There weren’t any VIP medias at the event.. pretty sad and yes i know. Because Zambesi and Margi from NomD have to do buying trip or “showing” in Paris, ANZFW got pushed to September from October – clashing with NY and London fashion week. therefore all the important VIPs don’t come all the way to NZ.

    Foxy Lady from the States are real tacky. All the Australian buyers didn’t come this season except oldies. Key international medias were lacking this year…

  2. says

    Does the problem here not stem from the designers themselves more so than the media?!
    I completely concur with several of the posted statements, along with your view Isaac, that the coverage of New Zealand Fashion in general is disproportionate to that of reality.
    However one can’t help but wonder that if our designers took criticism a bit better, then the media may apply more honesty in their reviews, and in turn this would benefit the industry by helping designers make progress with their designs.
    Bad press towards designers is often received in a negative and hurtful manor; however it should not be viewed like this. Yes, I know, it can be rather hurtful to hear that someone did not like your work; however as a designer surely you should always be looking to improve and evolve.
    Don’t forget that these people are your customers; you are designing for them, and not just yourself!

    Now some people may read this and think ‘what does this girl know, she is a nobody’, but please remember, nobodies have eyes too. If we find a collection utterly appalling, but yet have been reviewed in an obviously bias way, then that publication will lose its creditability in our eyes. What good are advertising partners if no one reads or watches your content because they no longer bother to take heed to the options of people who are so easily bought off? The same goes for designers and their collections. It’s simple, if we don’t like it, we don’t buy it. There is only a small majority that will actually be swayed by unconvincing journalism.
    Enough of a rant from Moi.

  3. says

    The question of buyers is very interesting. None of the key Australian buyers were here this year, and I heard from a couple of designers that they have stopped stocking them.

    I know from talking to some of the previous VIP Australian buyers that they were unhappy with the treatment they received two years ago – after being used to VIP treatment – free flights, free accommodation, they were annoyed at having to pay half their fares themselves.

    I don’t know if this is the reason that they’re not coming any longer, but wouldn’t money better be spent bringing them in than international media who don’t necessarily end up writing much about our designers?

    As Mikhail Gherman said to me, “if these media people are here, there’s a reason they’re not at London Fashion Week.”

  4. says

    OOOH! Time for me to put my two cents in (this is Katie May from YEN mag by the way).
    In response to Mikhail’s comment; the reason “these media” are at ANZFW and not London Fashion week is because they are generally from independent Australian media that couldn’t get flown to the “big” fashion weeks if they tried. However, it’s the readers of these independent magazines that are most likely to buy clothes from SGC, Lonely Hearts and, surprise surprise, Karen Walker. Staff from Mags like YEN, Oyster and pagesonline go to ANZFW, view the collections and support the crap out of things they like. People like YEN fashion director Imogene Barron are hugely influential here and LOVE NZ fashion. Immy, Ryan Lobo and others constantly include NZ designers in their editorials, which is important considering that Australia is one of New Zealand’s biggest export markets. For Mikhail to seemingly fob these people off (as well as his adoptive country’s fashion event) as nothing – particularly when both are also very supportive of Karen – is truly offensive. I will write more soon but I’m a bit wound up. Hmmph xx

  5. says

    The question of buyers is so valid. Buyers at a trade event were once indispensable so this just seems absurd.

    None of the international buyers i used to mind were present and sure, Paul Johnson-Calderon and Paul Bui are cute but what dollar value can you attribute to them in comparison. Most substantial coverage I found was from local media which yes, is expected but not by such vast differences. Thorough reviews of each show vs a scanty blog post of the crowd’s outfits on your magazine’s website. Hmm..

    Bring the buyers back.


  6. Imogen says

    I think – after reading the comments that have been posted and the questions that have been raised – overall there seems to be a lot of people pointing out the negatives, low points and areas they feel are not quite right, with NZ fashion. While there have been some entirely valid points raised, i think all of us should focus on the positives that are coming out of the industry.
    In general terms – NZ fashion, the industry as a whole including designers, media, PR etc is still burgeoning in comparison to the Northern Hemisphere….obviously we are going to have things to improve on in the way fashion is portrayed, designed, written and spoken about, however, overall i must say – and having worked in fashion in London for the last couple of years – NZers in the industry are doing remarkable things here and abroad – all considered.
    For some to weigh in on a debate/discussion that raises valid and intelligent questions, providing their seemingly staunch opinions and views, yet staying anonymous and for the most part (having read the comments) not obviously having access to the facts – to me, makes their opinions baseless.

    And to the comment re World:
    ‘When World duo say they missed fashion week for a few years because they were “showing in Paris” – did they actually do a show – or did they in fact just take a trade fair stand at a trade event in Paris?’

    Firstly by saying ‘did they in fact just take a trade fair stand…’ comes across as entirely patronising – in my opinion.

    i find it seemingly irrelevant whether they ‘show’ or take a stall at the associated trade fair (the answer by the way is the latter), WORLD is taking its money and investing it in a far more sensible way by taking a stand – than creating a spectacle to the small (comparitively speaking) amount of media they would garner. By taking a stall and meeting buyers and media face to face -creating personal relationships, they have a far greater chance of furthering their overseas interest and business opportunities. Unless you are a major fashion house – showing at any one of the Big 4 international weeks takes thousands upon thousands of dollars. Shows in the Northern Hemisphere are a far larger undertaking than here in NZ – and that is categorically NOT taking away from the level of show created here – it is, rather, a simple fact.
    Speaking from experience, even designers like Giles Deacon and Julien Macdonald require sponsorship in order to show each season.

    The calibre of design talent (including here – photog’s, hair & makeup etc) is astounding, as is the writing….tv journalism is lagging behind but if we can start getting more Noelle McCarthy’s on board, it, in turn will pick up. Writing objectively is a task in itself, not just when it comes to fashion. However it is unnecessary to write negative, scathing, throwaway comments in reports – rather i find it harder to write constructive criticism. Stacy Gregg, Cathrin Schaer, Isaac and the like all do a fantastic job. In a country such as ours where standing by your opinion (rather than being anonymous) can have increasingly adverse reactions – why on earth would anyone in their right mind (unless the are made of the same mettle as Suzy Menkes) voice negative opinions in any form other than omission. i agree wholeheartedly with the comment above – negative/constructive criticism must be taken in a positive light (if it is to be taken at all), and to encourage open discussion to further the creative industries.

  7. says

    Hi Katie May, thanks for your comment, Mikhail’s comment was taken out of context – he was talking about Northern Hemisphere media in particular.

    More importantly, this discussion is about the state of the fashion media here in New Zealand.

    While criticism is encouraged, positive criticism is far more helpful than anonymously slagging people off.

    If you’re going to slag someone off, at least put your name to it.

  8. Anonymous says

    This is probably going to be really unpopular. However, I going to write it anyway.

    The average consumer, past the 20-something age bracket, really couldn’t care less what the “media” has to say about fashion. If they like something, they’ll buy it – regardless of what some writer from the NZ Herald thinks about it.

    The average consumer doesn’t care which designer is hot or popular right now; they’re not interested in the personal details of a designer’s life; they don’t care about what’s “in”; they don’t care about which celebrity is wearing what or what shows they attended.

    All the stuff I just mentioned seems to be boringly typical of NZ fashion journalism. Or, perhaps I should say, boringly typical of NZ Herald fashion journalism.

    We have men like myself, who have a keen interest in fashion and dressing well. Yet, we never read fashion show reviews, simply because we’re not interested in “gossip” and the opinions of others. However, if you show us photos of a particular designer’s work that you admire, we’re all over it.

    What I’m calling for hear is less talk and more show from the NZ fashion media. Because anything else is just gossip and opinions.

  9. Anonymous says

    Here’s something I was curious about at this year’s fashion week – why did everyone makes such a fuss over Bryan Boy????? He has a blog, where he takes photos of himself in women’s clothes… anything else?

  10. Anonymous says

    To “anonymous” who is above.

    If you are curious why there is a fuss over BB, then have a look at his blog http://www.bryanboy.com then you will know why. He is a Marc Jacobs muse also he is one of the respected fashion bloggers, internationally.

  11. Murray Bevan says

    Bryan Boy is an interesting case study. Even though I know he’s not always honest about the shows and designers he likes and dislikes, he has jumped on a new band-wagon of media who are fueling discussion and activity within the fashion industry, which is a good thing. Being young and not having any major overheads, and turning over a few hundred thousand US a year means he probably doesn’t really have any reason to feel bad about being in the game either. He’s not losing sleep over it so neither should you.

    As for Brian Long, I’ve long been wanting some answers on why he’s here year after year at NZFW, and the answer I’m faced with is that he was here at the beginning, he’s helped a few designers by introducing them to some new northern hemisphere faces, and above all, he’s helped Pieter and been a supporter of the event for almost its entire history. Even though he doesn’t seem to have any real cred where it counts, his support of the event probably counts for something.

    Going back to Katie’s comment about Australian media and their support of NZ labels, I agree that there is immense support in Australia for Kiwi’s, and there’s always some shoot somewhere in some magazine that is either styled by a Kiwi or shot here or includes NZ garments. I know Paul Maloney (KW’s sales and press agent for Australia) was here at NZFW ’08 and he sees NZ as a great talent pool, too.

  12. murray bevan says

    …and look what happened to The Sartorialist; named as one of Time Magazine’s Top 100 design influencers. Maybe there’s big things to come for our little Philipino friend.

  13. Anonymous says

    Something that’s piqued my interest ever since reading a blog written by Bryanboy about the DOW dropping below 10,000.00

    He mentions his brokerage portfolio? Was he born into cash and wisely invested? He obviously has plenty of money with the amount of high end clobber he wears. I didn’t realise it was as much as Murray has stated though.

    Isaac can you shed some light on how Bryan Boy has found himself in this enviable position.
    Also, did you dig up the FQ Men article?

  14. Kate says

    Bryan could easily be making a lot of money just from blogging. He has a lot of advertising on his site, and presumably has a big readership as well.

    It is not unheard for blogs with big readerships to make a large amount of money just from google ads, let alone the larger blogads that Bryan has.

  15. Anonymous says

    “If you are curious why there is a fuss over BB, then have a look at his blog http://www.bryanboy.com then you will know why. He is a Marc Jacobs muse also he is one of the respected fashion bloggers, internationally.”

    It’s this kind of blah, uninformed comment that brings the standard down…

    I have looked at his blog, I still don’t get it. No one has said WHY he’s so respected, everyone just jumps on the bandwagon and rehashes the same shit about him, NZ media poured attention and praise all over him as if he was god’s gift to New Zealand fashion week… sheep!

    The Sartorialist, I get. The man has an eye for true style.

  16. Imogen says

    attn anonymous

    Just because you may not ‘get’ something doesn’t make it wrong anonymous…..Bryan Boy adds interest, frivolity, fun and sparkle to fashion – he never professes to be an expert anywhere on his blog.
    He has an opinion that he chooses to share, that for the most part, judging by the amount of advertising which in turn is a comment on the size of his readership – others agree with or are at least, interested in.
    Why is he respected? Because he has the balls to stand up and have an opinion, good bad or indifferent – and still put his name to it…….additionally – in a world where finding a new spin, something fresh and unique is increasingly hard to come by he, for obvious reasons, stands out.
    Again – I see a lot of negative comments – which is fine if there is a possible solution to counter them…..

    Pieter, Myken et al have added something to the culture of NZ, inparticular the Fashion Industry. To run an event of that magnitude is not an easy task and takes perseverance, patience, business savvy and passion. Whilst we may not get the crème de la crème of the international media, they have done a great job getting people to support NZ and come down to view the talent. Again – there are always improvements to be made, but they know this and try their hardest, as best they know how, to provide support as well as business contacts to designers, established and up –and –coming. While it may not be ideal I would rather have the Stewarts et al working on NZ Fashion Week than have them give up – just so some don’t have to ponder why Bryan Long is watching a show and sipping Moet.

    Oh and one last thing – what on earth does it matter how much money Bryan Boy has and/or was born into…..

  17. Anonymous says

    No one was said it did matter how much money he has Imogen, or how he came about it, it’s a matter of curiosity.
    That’s like asking why gossip sites are popular.

  18. says

    We’re getting way off the topic here. Bryan Boy is famous because he has that X factor, that star quality that charms everyone he comes across.

    This discussion is, and always has been, about the quality of fashion reporting here in New Zealand. Why, when there are proper news stories at Fashion Week, (like Simon Lock’s presence) do all our mainstream – and most (not all) of our fashion specific media focus on the fluff?

    To the anonymous writers who are giving your opinions and bringing irrelevant arguments or gossipy speculation into the mix, identify yourselves. How can anyone take what you’re saying seriously if you’re not going to name yourselves.

  19. Anonymous says

    I think most of the anonymous writers don’t care if anyone takes them seriously or not, Isaac. So, your attempt at baiting them probably wont work.

    My guess is that they’re probably choosing to remain anonymous because they’d rather not get caught up with that opinionated, gossipy Auckland clique that seems to dominate the NZ fashion scene.

    As far as Bryanboy goes, he’s an openly gay transvestite. So, that makes him an ally to some, a curiosity to others, and a joke to just about everybody else.

    However, because of the size of his readership, he generates a lot of free advertising for designers. And, they’d be foolish to ignore any opportunity for that, if his readership represents the market segment they’re trying to reach.

    Fashion marketing is all about creating hype around one’s products and manipulating consumer narcissism. (“Yes, you are really beautiful and important. But, you could be much more so if you wear such and such.” is the message we bombard with them.) It’s also about driving potential consumers into a feeding frenzy so that they believe they’ll literally die without a particular designer’s garments. So, if any designer can use Bryanboy to create this around themselves, you can best believe they’ll court him.

    The glamour is really a very small part of fashion. And, behind all that is a hardcore business enterprise that’s all about making money.

  20. says

    At the end of the day fashion media write fashion media for other fashion media. Does general Jane public care for a deep analysis of every garment that comes down the runway? Nope. To outsiders (particularly those south of the bombays) fashion week is a big wanky love-in where people sometimes throw wine at each other and THAT is the coverage they want in their Herald thank-you-very-much. NZ designers are already known within NZ; each consumer has their favourite – whether it be Zambesi or Lucie Boshier – and they’re not going to stop buying their wares just because some fashion writer didn’t like a new collection.

    The exception of those giving up-to-the-minute coverage is Runway reporter. Those that are really into fashion (and couldn’t wrangle a ticket to NZFW themselves) would have watched it unfold there; RR is obviously an important tool for both the industry and consumer and I think it gave great, objective coverage of the event (cheers Catherine Schaer).
    Getting back to my point, criticism (“honest reviews”) of collections/ shows does not have a place in NZ’s mainstream media because, with a shit economy and an upcoming election, the majority of it’s readers DO NOT CARE!
    xx KM

  21. Anonymous says

    Runway Reporter is great. But to the cynics among us, perhaps one of the most compromised of them all, being in bed with APN. and it comes back to the already overly hashed point of advertising dollars driving reviews instead of clothes.
    as a Joe Public myself, I definitely am not interested in hearing about the overall garment construction, more just generalisation of how the clothes would when translated from the catwalk to real life for it’s chosed demographic.
    Someone should be saying, ‘the Stolen Girlfriends Club show was a great show with an excellent atmosphere, but I don’t think even their most die hard supporters will be wearing the stuck in the 80’s boyband style shredded jeans to the Kings Arms next Winter’, same thing with the fur coats.
    and perhaps if something looks like Nom*d but isn’t Nom*d maybe someone could mention that too?

    It was a bit before I started following reviews of shows, but a few years back, like two maybe three years ago, Zambesi did some scarves which were identical to Dior Homme, same fringing the whole deal, if anyone has that good a memory, was this similarity mentioned in any reviews?

  22. zoe says

    SGC fans are pretty groupie like, so they probably WILL wear those 80s boyband shredded jeans and the fur coats.

    Runway Reporter is owned by ACP, not APN.

    And great comment Katie May!

  23. murray bevan says

    I believe readers do care, and it’s lively, intelligent, opinionated and educated discussion that furthers any art form, including fashion.

    In the sport-obsessed countries we live in, I do think that Joe Public likes a glossy pic of a good looking model more than they need/want a good review of a collection, but that’s not to say there’s not a place for a few die-hard journo’s out there who say what they think and attempt to move the industry forward and are respected for it.

    If we all gave up and looked at the jobs we do from day to day and asked ourselves ‘who really cares’, then most of us would have come to the conclusion that we should go and live on a farm years ago.

  24. says

    With regard to Anonymous above:

    Runway Reporter is owned by ACP, not APN.

    Generally, most NZ designers can’t afford to pay for advertisements in most media, rather, it’s beauty companies who provide the bulk of the income, so I don’t think this is a major factor, but correct me if I am wrong.

    A catwalk show would be pretty boring if designers only put clothes on that will sell – part of a show is about being just that – a show. Showpiece items of clothing and adventurous styling is part and parcel of the whole thing – would you like all your fashion editorial to be laid out like a Farmers catalogue too? As much as fashion is about clothing, it’s also about creativity (ideally).

    The amount of ‘cross-pollination’ or indeed, direct inspiration that NZ designers take from internationals (yes, Stolen Girlfriends Club had Rodarte-esque stockings in their shows, yes, Yvonne Bennetti rips out pictures from UK Vogue and takes them to her tailor in Hong Kong, amongst a plethora of other examples), but this is by no means confined to just NZ. Or Australia. It’s completely visible on catwalks everywhere and you could spend all day drawing parallels between less-established designers and those who they are inspired by. It’s disgusting. But what does this sort of attention achieve? Surely, and this is the path that has been chosen by the publications I’ve had the pleasure of working at, you cover everyone equally (as you should), and then celebrate and champion the designers you truly believe in and admire.

    This is quite an interesting article on a (sort of) related topic: http://www.psfk.com/2007/09/is-wgsn-destroying-creativity.html

    And, possibly irrelevant but I am curious – Isaac why did you not review the Stolen Girlfriends Club show?


  25. Andre says

    What’s wrong with shredded jeans, Zoe? I have a pair that go really well with my pointy-toe, customised Chucks, faded tee and rosary beads – have you not seen my get-up lately and though ‘now THERE’S a guy with pizazz’?

    P.S. all these comments are great, but does someone actually want to have a crack at honestly reviewing a recent collection so we can all have a read and see what we’re aspiring to?

    Isaac, Katie May & Zoe – maybe you should review a collection each?

  26. Anonymous says

    you’re behind the time’s a little bit Andre,
    you’re nobody if you’re not wearing Doc Martens with the cuff of your jeans rolled up a little bit.
    You will literally not be acknowldged by anyone from the North Short.


  27. Andre says

    Going back to Anonymous’s post at 4.29pm – what I’d like to see is someone with enough knowledge of the industry not necessarily saying “that looks like Nom*d”, but rather “Designer x did this first at blah blah fashion show, then Nom*d ripped it off, then designer x ripped off Nom*d”.

    Your comment about Zambesi being ‘inspired by’ Dior is a very good one. So many people from the Northern Hemisphere tell me that Nom*d and Zam are very derivative/occasionally steal directly from Belgium. Is this true? I don’t know, and I’m not sure how many other writers in New Zealand could muster the knowledge to make those incisive comments about style origins.

  28. Anonymous says

    Something else I’d like to raise in response to Natalie’s very intelligent and well thought out comment.

    In regards to designers ripping off other designers.. in a music review, the writers gleefully point out the band in questions influences, and go so far as to point out which exact song they ripped off and in which way.

    Not only does this show good knowledge of their subject. But can also be very beneficial to the reader. Say if they’re like oh they just sound like the Strokes, I myself was like, wicked I love the Strokes I want to listen to more bands that sound like them, and opened myself up to some new bands.
    And lord knows I probably wouldn’t be listening to Televesion and The Velvet Underground if it weren’t for all those reviews about Is This It pointing out obvious similarities between those bands and the Strokes

    I don’t see why fashion reviews can’t work the same way? it seems almost taboo to write down and point out an obvious influence.

    I was stoked the day someone told me that Hedi Slimane ‘just rips of Raf Simons’ cause that’s the day I discovered Raf.

    If you can see my point here?

  29. Anonymous says

    Now I know that many people commenting here have journalism backgrounds, like Zoe and Katie May, but Issac did you ever even study journalism?

  30. Anonymous says

    I’m sorry, but that’s just really irrelevant, and besides the point. You’re commenting on a BLOG, this is free media. you don’t need a degree to publish an opinion.
    That’s like asking Jimi Hendrix if he studied music.

  31. says

    Haaaaaa! Isaac is the Jimi Hendrix of the blog world now? Are you left handed Isaac?

    Anonymous Television listener: great idea! That’d be wonderful, to reference – I’m not sure why it doesn’t happen more, or why it’s more vilified than celebrated. When an artist subtly references certain works it’s seen as clever – perhaps the problem is that often these ‘references’ are a) not that subtle and b) not historical ie, they’re from the same/recent season – so it’s less like the Strokes digesting and re-working elements of the Underground and more like a band playing a not even that obscure track by Laurie Anderson and neglecting to mention that they didn’t write it. I might be taking this a little far.

    Also, perhaps because generally shows are reviewed on the fly, it might be a better analogy to think of the review like a concert review – these pieces are often written to a very tight deadline, within several hours for both website and newspapers.

    I wonder how designers would feel about all this? So much work goes into creating a collection, and all these people are intelligent and creative, driven by the bottom line to some extent (as we all are), but I am so curious as to what say, Dayne at Zambesi would have to say re: the above comment (only mentioning him as he is mentioned above for Z menswear). I’m sure he’d be mortfied, just as Cybele was when she was dramatically accused of ripping off DVF by the Dominion – hurtful, unneccessary and completely ignoring the idea of trend, fashion, collective subconscious, the creative zeitgeist, which is the generally accepted reason for why international designers come up with things that can have connections, not to mention the huge effect that the concentrated amount of fabric suppliers has on the industry, particularly in NZ/Aus.

  32. says

    I studied, but not journalism. I do however work full time writing for a magazine if that counts? (Junior level blogger desperately craves approval from anonymous poster.)

    I like Katie May’s review of the Stolen Girlfriends Club. It’s honest without being bitchy about the influences; Alexandra Wang, Rodarte, Balmain, (I also saw Nom*D, Raf by Raf Simons in the sleeveless suit jackets, and Comme Play with those hearts). It also quantifies all that with the fact that SGC is a cult label here and has a gigantic following among NZ youth.

    If anonymous who wants to see a show review from me, Zoe and Natalie really wants to, then you can easily click on the Air New Zealand Fashion Week tag on my page or google their names and I’m sure a fair few reviews will come up.

  33. Simon s-s-s-s-s- says

    Wonderful comment Natalie.

    A) I think ‘influences’ and ‘references’ are welcome and should be pointed out but not vilified, but direct copies are not cool.

    B) Isaac would make a TOTALLY BAD ASS white Hendrix.

  34. Anonymous says

    Of course you don’t need a degree to publish a comment, and that is the whole problem with Citizen Journalism, which ‘blogging’ is a part of. It’s a bunch of people (not directly talking about you here Isaac) who (most of the time)have no idea what they are talking about, talking about things that actually matter in the world- like the ethics of journalism (journalism is the basis for democracy, therefore I would consider that important). Off topic, but a reply none-the-less.

  35. Anonymous says

    ANZFW 09 was…

    Bad choice for Kate Sylvester outfit for nz fashion week campaign and uh! another one, weird bungy jump thing with designers.

    Nom*D looked {same old same all}.
    Zambesi had various Surplus Army cut-out leather blankets on models(male model too) – same goes to Lonely hearts. Karen Walker showed same collection she showed at NYC. Kate didn’t show at all. World went too glittery with their nasty “homo” Chinese take out man bag. Yvonne once again designed “stuff” from HK… Cybele, once again, put out cliche cuts with matching weird Shoes.

  36. Anonymous says

    huh!? i loved Cybele’s shoes – she keeps her collection really tight and cohesive. she is a great designer/business lady :) We should love Cybele, Cybele Cybele Cybele!!!!!!!!!!!!! and Cybele! and MORE Cybele!! Please!!

  37. says

    Natalie Smith is a former Runway Reporter reporter and now she’s a freelance writer based in Sydney.

    She’s pretty much like the Paul McCartney of fashion journalism.

    Right Natalie?

  38. Anna Fitzpatrick says

    “How was it that Kate Sylvester won last year’s Air New Zealand export award, only to use that travel budget to NOT show at our fashion week? This patently was a surprise to most or I doubt that Air NZ would have used an outfit from them if they’d had any indication. This outrageous slap in the face was taken without comment!”

    I find this comment from the main text amusing. Yea bad idea to have her in the campaign. But regards to the export award, it is exactly what it says. You use the money to enter new markets overseas…NOT to show here again.

    I don’t think she can be blamed for not showing here, just because she won an award she shouldn’t feel obliged to show again. It’s expensive, her buyers in NZ would buy the range from seeing it in a showroom, she already has great press exposure, so what else can she get from it?

    She is smart to put her money into showing overseas and building her brand elsewhere, as well as building New Zealand’s fashion credibility at the same time. She was seen around and ANFW, and she said that she may show again in the future, but right now it just isn’t worth it when you are outlaying huge amounts of dosh to build your label beyond NZ. That is something all labels should be aspiring to do…big fish small sea etc.

  39. Anonymous says

    Hey great relevant comment. You came to the fashion blog where people are discussing fashion and told them they should be discussing something more important.
    I’m guessing you’ll probably be going to your local church on Sunday morning and telling them to worship a proper god as well.
    Your comment was a complete waste of time. Why did you bother writing that? Seriously?

  40. Anonymous says

    Have you even been reading this thread? a lot of people commenting are ‘joe publics’, i.e consumers, i.e “people that would actually buy and wear the clothes”
    The entire point of this ’round table’ discussion is of fashion journalists writing honest reviews. The whole point of reviews is for the consumer market to get an idea of whatever is being reviewed.
    It’s got nothing to do with who the designers are directing their clothes at.
    Designers make clothes that they hope people will like and pay money for? No kidding. I didn’t realise that.

    and you didn’t tell anyone to do anything?

    What do you call this then?: “You may want to consider pulling your heads out of your asses, and getting back to things that really matter. LOL!”

    Are you trying to play on some semantics here and claim that wasn’t telling people what to do?

    P.s You definitely didn’t hit a nerve, I just think you’re wasting peoples time with an irrelevant and poorly considered comment

  41. Anonymous says

    Well this has well and truly gone to the dogs.

    A shame, I know a lot of people were enjoying some (mostly) intelligent debate. Natalie, you’re a particularly sharp writer, on any subject, well done you!

    I myself am looking forward to seeing what Isaac has for us today. As always.

    Although, I’m still puzzling over his preoccupation with having people identify themselves. Why does it matter Isaac? My name’s Alex, you don’t know me anyway.

  42. Mina says

    The real problem with NZ fashion week is that 80-90% of the collections are shite – what’s a reviewer to do :)

    When you have the job of reviewing most of the collections at NZFW and there are really only 3-4 great showings (if that), a reviewer could come across as being generally negative if they told the cold truth about the rest being crap – the reviewers resulting body of work could then effectively put them out of a job – if theres no chance of changing the quality of showings why not shoot the messenger.

  43. Anonymous says

    Some hard truths about fashion journalism even in NYC- “New York Times fashion editor Karla Martinez was looking forward to the Carolina Herrera show when Amy Larocca and our cameras saw her earlier this week. “We haven’t been invited for the two years that I’ve been [at the Times],” she said. “I think there were some bad reviews that had been written in the past.” – from nymag.com, The Cut blog

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