#888 “GROW UP AND GET REAL” – Murray Crane on complaining ANZFW designers

Image /Crane Brothers

Weighing in on the Air New Zealand Fashion Week debate, Murray Crane had this to say on his blog:

“I have tried to be quite tight lipped over Fashion Week. Being involved in the past I have seen it from both sides as a guest and as a designer.

In this mornings Sunday Star Times there was an article that, in its precis form, was stating that there were designers unhappy with the amount of money they had spent on their shows and that in return they had received very little exposure and hadn’t got any international orders.

These statements incense me so much!”

“To break it down to its simplest form, love or hate, Pieter Stewart has run this event for the last few years now and mock it all you want it is actually a designated week for the Fashion Industry to showcase its talent. The problem is that the talent is very thin on the ground.

What is worse is that to make the event a fiscal success* the organisers have to attract designers who are possibly not established enough to show.

This year with the world climbing out of a recession it seems that the organisers have had to scrape the bowl a little bit harder than usual and that their spoon has had to be licked a little bit longer.

To anonymously bitch and moan to the media that you are disappointed that you did not get any international orders says a lot about your label.

First of all you are too lazy or lack the talent to have a structured business plan that involves attracting international interest in your line.

Second, you are under some sort of delusion that by simply filling out a registration form and paying your fee that you are going to have Anna Wintour’s number on your iPhone within a year. GROW UP AND GET REAL.

Obviously the week needs to be shorter and there needs to be a basic screening process to make sure that the event is something we can be proud of and excited by. If we as an industry aren’t excited how can we expect our customers to be excited?

Whats more when did the media lose all of their teeth? Where is the next Stacey Gregg?

Nobody seems to have anything bad to say and choosing to say nothing doesn’t achieve anything.

Every designer should be given the same column space and the same treatment. Press should be feared as well as revered.

Mediocrity is a dangerous thing.

*Breaking even or making a small loss in the Fashion Industry is generally considered a fiscal success.”

From the Sunday Star Times article SHOW US THE MONEY, SAY ANGRY DESIGNERS:

“Pieter Stewart, managing director of NZ Fashion Week, says she has received no complaints from any of the designers who took part, and that sales always took time to come through. ‘It’s not like a shop,’ Stewart said, ‘It’s a chance for designers to build long-term relationships.’

One designer, who did not want to be named, said she had not received a single international order despite spending more than $20,000 to show at Air New Zealand Fashion Week. Only a handful of international buyers attended. ‘Every designer needs to ask themselves what their objectives are. If they are just doing it as a New Zealand marketing exercise then it can certainly achieve results for you… but if you are doing it for international sales or if you are trying to use it as a stepping stone to reach an international audience, I think it is very limited. There’s a lot of hype, but is it truly translating into sales?’

She said she was aware of cases in the past where orders placed by overseas buyers never amounted to anything. ‘Did they get paid for the order? No, often not, and the order has never been dispatched,’ she said. ‘There are some people who are able to make [Fashion Week] count, but I guess it’s just far and few between.’

Another designer, who was also reluctant to be identified because of the potential backlash, said she had spent a ‘small fortune’ on her show in the hope of garnering some international orders, but none had materialised. ‘It’s very glitzy and glamorous but it’s certainly not a money-making exercise for the designers. There was a disappointingly low number of international buyers there this year and they were keeping a pretty tight rein on their purse strings.’

World’s Denise L’Estrange-Corbet is one of the few designers who is prepared to publicly question the merits of Fashion week. World returned to Fashion Week in 2008 after a three-year break, but did not show this year because L’Estrange-Corbet felt the cost was not worth it. ‘What you should ask Fashion Week is if you can actually see the orders that designers have received. What I think happens is they bring people out, they place orders and they go back overseas and they cancel them all. So in the beginning designers get very excited thinking they have got orders, when in fact the people have just come on a junket.’

L’Estrange-Corbet said Fashion Week organisers always claimed the event generated tens of millions of dollars’ worth of media exposure, but never explained how they gauged that: ‘I never see anyone on the cover of US Vogue.’ The event was overdue for an overhaul and she would not participate until that happened.

Stewart said a full debrief of Fashion Week had yet to occur but she had received only positive feedback. The international buyers who had attended were mainly agents for showrooms who would potentially be selling to between 50 and 200 outlets each, so orders would take time to filter through. ‘From what I know there was a lot of business going on,’ Stewart said. ‘And you have to remember the show was taking place in a depressed international climate.’


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  1. Mina says

    Stacy Gregg talks just as much crap as any of the other editors/reviewers – for SS2002 Stella McCartney showed slogan tees on the catwalk – Stacy slagged the concept but when NomD showed their AW2004 ‘Don’t Shoot’ collection she praised the crap out of it and wore one of their hoodies on Good Morning the next day – so Stella’s message wasn’t as deep as Margis but really either she is a vegetarian and loved the message or she only thinks a good idea can come from a designer she knows and that gives her free clothes to promote.

  2. Anonymous says

    Can you post a link to or scan of the article (or possibly relevant comments from the piece) for those of us who haven’t seen it? Who were the complaining designers?

    Complaining because you’re lazy or a dreamer is one thing. Complaining because you’re an inexperienced designer and have been misled about the international saleability of your brand, by people who claim to be experts, in order to secure your investment in FW… that would be another thing.

    PS. Come on Murray, I seriously doubt anyone thinks they’ll be on first-name terms with Wintour after their first FW show. YOU get real. They might, reasonably, hope for some media coverage, if they’ve been led to believe they’ll get it. And since FW does its best to alienate media who don’t toe the line, that’s less likely every year.

  3. Kate says

    I know one easy way to save money – don’t put on expensive shows or well-liquored after parties if the majority of attendees are young, unimportant ligger types. They don’t get you the big sales.
    Not saying all designers do this, but a small minority definitely do.

  4. Anonymous says

    And Murray gets more coverage for being a righteous unpleasant twat! who was not involved in showing at the event just happy to grumpily tell people off as usual YAWN.

    -On how media “should” be doing their job hmmm
    gee again thanks Murray for such wisdom. Being Diametrically opposed to almost every one of Ms Gregg’s opinions and self glorifying “honesty” I would much rather just praise the good.

    Also try doing your job as honest media when the brand manager relishes in attacking you for not putting her event in anything but glowing terms – being yelled at by ANZFW staff is not such a hard club to get into these days -not my idea idea of media relations.

    The show in its current format over 4-5 days with 3 to 4 shows worth watching a day leaves us bored and or drunk – the bar is apparently where ANZFW makes their profit.

    A lot of relationships crash and burn on this event. A good idea may be to sell the event to IMG. Who run these events all over the world. The fashion week team do very well here for their budget and size however a big company would just have more resources, a global vision, wider reach and perhaps a little more energy.

    The disgruntled designers could break with a few molds. They could be responsible for their relationships with the media, get to know them. In presentation – steam your clothes, get the seams looking beautiful, have a panel of critics help you well before the show have fun and be professional.
    The size of NZ can be a wonderful advantage find the ways.

  5. Anonymous says

    @ Anon 6.14

    Yes, the sarcasm is obvious, but not terribly helpful, is it? Did anyone in the article express unreasonably high hopes for coverage? Some media attention is, after all, a baseline objective for showing at Fashion Week.

    If he’s going to lecture people about ‘getting real’, maybe he should address their actual hopes rather than mocking them as unreasonable fantasists.

  6. says

    It is healthy to be having this debate, but extremely unhelpful that individuals insist on both personally attacking people and their opinions about the event.

    There are both directly and indirectly associated with the event, which will have to be worked out incrementally and this is obviously all part of the process.

    As I have previously said, one of the ways to make the event a truly international and accessible event would be to have it streamed live on the internet.

    This blog alone is testament to how much more the public and those in the industry are engaging with the world of fashion.

  7. Anonymous says

    Hi Isaac, I find it rather Ironic that Murray has decided to come out and comment (standing very high on his soap box) on this subject matter, given that he…

    A. No longer shows at fashion week.
    B. Has sold out & handed over the manufacture and distribution of “little brother” to Barkers
    C. Recently DOWN SIZED Gubb & Mackie’s retail (and probably wholesale) presence.

    I totally give Murray a pat on the back for Crane Brothers & what he has done for tailoring in Nz, but regarding the whole fashion week fandiango, I don’t think he really is in a position of success in this field to comment so critically.

  8. Anonymous says

    You know what? I think Isaac, Murray and Denise should all get together and organize a Fashion Week and then we’ll all see how well they do. They obviously think they can do it so much better. So show us or shut up. Seriously! Actions speaks louder than words, as they say. Therefore, without any action, I just view Isaac, Murray and Denise as a gang of blowhards trying gain publicity for themselves.

    Issac, you moaned about Pam A being here and you didn’t consider her “classy enough” for the event. However, tens, if not hundreds, of millions of people know who she is worldwide. Can you say that about that Reemy Nelly chick or whatever her name is? I don’t think so. I never heard of her before she came here. Also, when you do become the arbiter of taste for all of New Zealand?

    Isaac, you moaned because some of the designers showing weren’t “cream of the crop” in your eyes. However, need I remind you that fashion is a subjective thing and that the beauty is in the eye of beholder? We don’t all like the same things as you. As a matter of fact, I like very little of what you seem to like and I can think of many others that don’t as well.

    Isaac, you moaned because of the announcements on the loudspeaker, while others actually appreciated them.

    To all those designers that were expecting international orders just because they showed at ANZFW: Well, honestly, I think you’re being a little naive to expect that just because you put on a fashion show. You’ve got to aggressively promote yourselves; which, quite frankly, is something that Kiwis aren’t very good at. You’ve got to work those contacts and markets and not just expect them to come to you just because you sent some frocks down the runway.

    It doesn’t matter if the frocks are crap, as Murray seemed to imply (like he can talk really from what I’ve seen of his stuff). If you designers don’t promote yourselves as the absolute best to the rest of the world, then why should they believe you are and buy stuff from you?

    Also, times are tough right now. Nobody is getting big orders at the moment because nobody has the money to place them.

  9. Anonymous says

    One thing I think is interesting about FW that none of the big drawcard names show at the tent, KW, Nom d, Zambesi, Kate Sylvester, Huffer, Stolen Girlfriends all show off site, is part of the reason that they don’t want to be associated with the shambles that it ANZFW has become?

    10 years or so ago when KW, Zambesi, (and god help us World) went to London Fashion week and showed as a group, the International press compared our designers to the “Famous Antwerp 6” and put the labels & NZ on the fashion map, I believe a great move for there brand awareness, and continual international success followed.

    Perhaps our up & coming designers need to take on this approach in international promotion (as a group) I am sure the government would assist in grants.

  10. Anonymous says

    Food for thought… Annah Stretton makes some of the ugliest frocks in town, yet she is one of the most financially successful NZ designers.

  11. Anonymous says

    My understanding is that selling the production rights for Little Brother to Barkers and downsizing G&M were the moves that narrowly saved all of Murray’s companies from financial collapse.

  12. Anonymous says

    I think the point here is not whether Murray runs a good business, mmakes good stuff or is a nice guy, but rather that people should be able to put their names behind their opinions without fear of retribution from FW organisers. The print and tv media are obviously too scared to get on the wrong side of anyone as was seen by the coverage. FRD was sycphantic byond belief. The only forum we seem to have is a few lone bloggers and good on them. At least Murray is prepared to make a stand and do it with his name. You may not like it or like him, but at least he’s not whinging anonymously.

    PS. Yes – I am awar eof the irony in my own use of the anon function! Irt’s just too much damn hassle to set up names and accounts. This is faster,.

  13. says

    Wow! It’s so easy to run your mouth when your not attaching your name to it isn’t it. Say what you like about Murray, he identifies himself before he speaks openly. A qualification that seems rare especially on this site. Anon at 10.28am. It takes 2 seconds to type your own name, you don’t need an account! But agree with your point otherwise. Anon at 3.20am, you obviously totally missed the point RE: Pamela Anderson. Isaacs point was that it should not just be someone famous for anything, it should be someone well known AND relevant/respected in the fashion world!

  14. ex-crane's friend says

    this is a publicity stunt for Mr Crane “i have nothing better to do so i am going to write something” HAH!

  15. friend says

    Oh well – at least he knows how to generate publicity then. wasn’t that one of the complaints from the unnamed designer in the paper?

  16. Anonymous says

    I guess if you wanna trade off publicity for being a dick, then why not.

    And i guess little brother didn’t go into receivership but got brought out by Barkers.

  17. Anonymous says

    this is all getting personnel.I do not Mr Crane but he makes some good points. But bottom line nzfw is crap, second rate and a joke we do not need it lets just have a good trade show for the rag trade and sell some clothes,the shoe guys do it and it works so we need to get of our high horse and remeber its about making money.

  18. MC says


    Fashion Week was a success for little brother and we showed on site officially and off site. Our shows were always meant for our customers to come to and enjoy. We were so commited to this in fact that we fell out with NZFW for not allowing VIP’s into our shows as we had given away the seats.

    Its fair to say that the relationship was strained on a number of occassions but you dont turn around and complain because the results you were hoping for did or didn’t materialise. Fashion Week is a good event if you have a clear strategy for what you want to achieve.

    Little Brother being licensed into Barkers is partly due to the profile we achieved (through investment in the brand by showing at fashion week).

    The fact that we have a brand (which we still own incidentally)is what allowed us to enter into a partnership with Barkers.

    The Fashion Week debate is a strange thing, how upset would we all be if it wasn’t around? I am sure that the likes of Kate Sylvester, Huffer, Stolen Grilfriends etc would still show in some capacity as would/will we if we feel it is an appropriate investment.

    To some extent any investment made is fundamentally for your domestic market.It is to support your retailers and customers i.e: people who open their wallets and pay for ideas and products.

    I would be upset if new talent didnt have anywhere to show but there are great designers who have never shown at Fashion Week. AUT had their rookie show this year but had very little to do with Fashion Week and this is where much of the new talent is being incubated.

    I think Karen Walker (as an example) has the balance right, she shows for her local market but also has a strong international business, developed by showing internationally, which comes at a significant cost but obviously stacks the cards in her favour domestically.

    It’s funny how everyone aspires to be the next Karen Walker or Kate Sylvester but doesn’t really want to do the work or perhaps dare I say it lacks the necessary intelligence and talent to be successful. There isn’t much luck involved.

    Either that or they are just plain scared about sticking their necks out too far it would seem.

  19. Anonymous says

    im glad murray just brought up the aut rookie show-i saw you there isaac and yet havnt seen anything on your blog??
    at least a mention good or bad would be nice, im sure the guys who showed and put you front row would really appreciate it. thats where our next designers are coming from… :)

  20. Anonymous says

    Hey Anon 3:2 you are very keen show support for Pamela and to diss out on Rumi, do you work for ANZFW?

    Sure enough everyone in the world knows who Pammy is, but the attention she gained could of been on any runway, in any country, people were interested in her flashing tittays, not the event she was at, so again what was the point of her being here?

    On the other hand Rumi went to the shows, hung with designers, experienced Auckland and posted on her blog about her experiences here.

    Her blog has approx 200 users online at any one time, she took care to mention the following:

    Annah Stretton, Zambesi, Nom*D, Kate Sylvester, Sera Lilly, Deadly Ponies, Lonely Hearts, Stolen Girlfriends and Public Library.

    Her star is rising as she has articles about her in: Teen Vogue, Jalouse, Nylon Mexico, Elle Japan, Glamour Spain, and Vogue Girl.

    So whilst Rumi is out getting amongst the fashion pack what does Pammy do? she signs on to be a genie in a British pantomime……. yip great choice ANZFW, well done!!!

  21. Anonymous says

    @9:34 Nope, don’t work for FW. Also, I didn’t diss Rumi; just said I never heard of her before ANZFW.

    FYI: Pam’s got a much, much higher profile than Rumi, whether you like it or not. She’s linked up with Vivienne Westwood and now Richie Rich. And, whether you liked her being here, or not, it did bring attention to ANZFW.

  22. says

    Yes, but it brought the WRONG TYPE OF ATTENTION to ANZFW. No New Zealand designers were mentioned, there wasn’t even a positive mention of ANZFW, just a few gossip blog articles about Pamela Anderson coming out onto the runway in a sheet and g-string.

    What good does that do our industry?

  23. Anonymous says

    Isaac, it made people look in NZ’s direction that may not have looked here before. Perhaps, just perhaps, they’ll explore more later on.

  24. Anonymous says

    LOL! Whatever, Isaac. Like I said earlier, actions speak louder than words. If you didn’t like the way ANZFW was run then go start your own. 😉

    Personally, I like a bit of tit on the runway. And, I saw plenty (although not as big) this year before Pam flashed her’s.

  25. Anonymous says

    You told on radio that designers who did FW should go to Stewert to complain about FW – but if we did that, we will get shit from Myken and Pieter Stewert. Which not every designers into. We can talk bout it via your blog 😉

    And what’s up with same front tuck pants at Rookie show? Every menswear had pants like that.. they thrashed it.. and all that same colour draping? boring..

  26. Anonymous says

    As always in this country there is a bit of tall poppy syndrome going on… We as a nation seem to knock people or cut them off at the knees when they try to stand tall, or do and say something that is different….

    If a designer is unhappy with what they have seen come back in to them business wise over the last month and voicing it on this blog then they are naive. Anyone who owns a business knows that it takes longer than a month to see results.

    Have you made a effort yourselves to contact overseas people to promote your clothes? made connections with people to send them up for distribution avenues? Even brought people down from overseas to fashion week to view you show? Yes the later costs more money, but the first few you can do yourself with a bit of determination.

    Fashion Week is a avenue to show case the best clothes, ideas and inspiration you have. If we didn`t have something like this, we would go back to having nothing…. Then what would it be? ? back to doing a show in a edgy building somewhere and asking norrie to come along and take photos of the same people you see in the sunday papers every week. I`m sure that by the time you were finished that would cost a bit as well.

    It`s easy to slag people off and it`s quite a immature way of going about it…. If you all feel so strongly about it , why don`t you get together and gather everyones input and ideas together in a positive and constructive process, then present it to ANZFW in a mature way. Then if there is a majority of issues in a certain area, they can be addressed and built on. I am sure whoever works at ANZFW has not done a course in mind reading….

    Some of you haters out there are quick to forget that we have been in a recession and businesses are laying people off left, right and center over the last year to stay afloat. ( you probley know someone close to you that has come close or even lost their job ) Everyone has been trying to cut back a little as a lot of business just isn`t coming to the door.

    I bet your not ringing up or writing slagging comments in the droves to cadbury chocolate about the fact that there is 50 grams less in the pack these days but we still being charged the full amount…..

  27. Anonymous says

    I don’t understand why people think tall poppies actually is a real thing. Who are the greatest achievers? Kate Sylvester, Karen Walker etc etc. I never read anything negative about them. It’s nothing but love, nothing but love because it’s quality shit they’re doing. People talk crap about stuff they think sucks, that doesn’t make it tall poppies. Tall Poppies is a cop out for the mediocre. OOooohhh don’t criticise me, that’s ‘tall poppies’

  28. Anonymous says

    haha i totally agree with you Anon 10:29am! YEah! Tall Poppy does exist but not that much in NZ! so meh! designers who suck can be criticized!

  29. Anonymous says

    It’s just some fucking bullshit the wider media came up with 4 or 5years ago, and it’s completely embedded in the national psyche now that it is a huge problem and concern. It’s fucking bullshit.

  30. Anonymous says

    My impression of Denise L’Estrange Corbett’s comments is that she thinks NZFW try to get designers on board by over-exaggerating their ‘sales pitch’. Seems to me that NZFW are pulling figures out of thin-air with regards to the exposure NZFW generates. UNCOOL!

    Murray Crane’s point (IMO) is that designers that are silly enough to be fall for this sales pitch or ‘fantasy’ are lazy and not prepared to put in the hard yards, and think success will be handed to them without blood sweat and tears. I think he is telling some people to wise-up, some of the fashion-scene queens to bugger off, and also indirectly being very critical of NZFW.

    I agree with both MC and DL’EC!!!

    I don’t believe that the Stewarts are doing NZFW for the right reasons. About time someone else started a rival fashion week!


  31. Anonymous says

    Oh and when Pieter Stewart says she ‘has only had positive feedback’ she means that people she has spoken to have said ‘it was great dahhhling!’

    Which is irrelevant to anyone but Pieter herself.

    NZFW is as relevant to fashion as ‘Miss Howick’ is to the world of international pageants (I hate pageants, but you get my meaning.) NZFW also has this in common with NZ’s laughable ‘Miss’ attempts. Those shows are about the promoters making money, they are not interested in the girls modelling careers, nor are the NZFW folk interested in designers careers.They are all about their show. Trelise and the bigger names carry the show, the smaller designers are only invited to flesh things out. You can’t have a FW with only 2-3 designers after all 😉

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