#1351 The New Zealand fashion media debate revisited

Photo: Bryan Boy

A long, long time ago, when this blog was very young, I wrote a post about the lack of any critical analysis of New Zealand Fashion Week by the mainstream media. My point was that all journalistic credibility seemed to fly out the window at the first mention of goody bags and possible front row seats. You’d see huge amounts of puff-coverage splashed all over the TV and newspapers, but nothing real. No investigation, no criticism, nothing resembling the sort of reportage you’d expect from the six o’clock news or the national newspapers, let alone the fashion media.

Read the original blog here, the debate that ensued here and a later post on honest fashion reporting here.

With New Zealand Fashion Week just a couple of months away, it looks like it’s time to revisit the debate. I’ve just been asked the following question: Why is there a complete impassivity toward critical fashion journalism and/or discussion in New Zealand? Check out the conversation here, here and contribute your own questions/points here.


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  1. oldgirl says

    Mr Issac, All I ask of you is to be really honest about the shows, I feel sometimes when I read a review of a show by some reviewers I think I must have been at a diiferent show. So from you, we will get the really deal I hope, and having been in Paris and Italy at the shows you will have seen the best of the best, you my not be loved for what you say all the time, but it can also be helpful for future shows and collections

  2. Anonymous says

    this again? instead of moaning about how everyone else in the industry isn’t as amazingly awesome as you, why don’t you just be awesome and write something amazing and hard-hitting about the boring industry here?

  3. Carbunkle says

    I think that people on the streets – the consumers and window shoppers – are incredibly perceptive about New Zealand fashion, almost more than the reviewers, journalists and other media. We know when a designer is being lazy, plagiarising or possibly just not hitting the required/wanted note. Tapping into a mood is one thing, but whether or not it fits with what exists in one wardrobe is ultimately left up to the person swiping the credit card. I think that certain people in the industry need to stop gushing over people who are obviously established and successful. Runway Reporter (now defunct), felt like it was a website totally dedicated to Karen Walker alone. Walker actually pardodied this in an article featured in NZ Herald in which she alludes to their obsession with all details of both her public and private life – She says, “we’re not doing an announcement or anything”. She said this in her deadpan way, waited a beat, then said somebody she’d told had asked whether they could tell other people. “I said, ‘well, Id rather you keep it to yourself because I’ve promised [fashion website] Runway Reporter the exclusive.’ They thought I was serious for a minute.”

    This highlights how attention to up and coming designers is over overtaken by puff-pieces on those who are already successful with solid public profiles and good yearly returns . Hailwood, Cybele and many other designers who are still (wrongly), listed in the ‘up and coming’ category would certainly benefit from just a slither of the attention given to Walker and Kate Sylvester.

  4. says

    NZ is too small. If there was to be a website or publication that actually critqued a designer, first off who would that be? We do not have many people that are able to understand and critique beyond mere aesthetic, and trends. ( A person with insight are generally people who are already in the fashion industry and too busy working, so the job is left up to reporters, journalists who have a lot of experience owning nice clothes but would have the foggiest when it comes to pattern cutting or construction and understanding the designer within its context).
    Secondly if there were an honest critique of shows put out there on a public platform, who is going to read it?
    Everyone likes fashion as something frivolous, exciting and fun (this is accessible to everyone). But the average joe is not interested in reading critiques (something fun turned serious) so why would that publication want to limit themselves to a mere hundred or so people that can understand fashion,
    when they can target hundreds of thousands?
    I had an experience where I was asked to review NZ fashion week for a publication and was disappointed that my words were reduced to a mere 1 or 2 paragraphs or reviews were removed from final edit as I felt strongly to critique the shows. But understood that at the end of the day they had a business to run .

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