When New Zealand was once again plunged into level 4 lockdown (the harshest and most restrictive level) earlier this week, those in the fashion industry immediately knew it meant one thing – no New Zealand Fashion Week. The week-long event, which was already missed last year, was set to kick off next Monday evening with an opening ceremony at the Auckland Town Hall. Instead, a flurry of emails were sent from the designers this week explaining how the show would not go on – well, not yet anyway. Dame Pieter Stewart, managing director and founder of New Zealand Fashion Week, doesn’t mince her words when she says the recent lockdown was ‘unbelievably awful timing’.
“Designers, buyers, production teams, models, partners and many others have been working up to NZFW21 for countless months, with some designers planning the type of show they were set to do last year before we were locked down,” she says.
One of those designers, Caitlin Crisp, was set to show her 64 piece spring/summer collection in her first solo NZFW show on Tuesday next week. When we asked her how she’s feeling she said she’s ‘a mix of emotions’ about the postponement.
“It sucks, but I’m not going to fight it,” she says. “My girls have been INCREDIBLE, as always. They’re both so proactive so I know they’ll do everything they can from home to make this work.”
For Crisp, her show at NZFW will cost tens of thousands of dollars, plus it’s a lot of extra time and undeniably, extra stress. Ultimately, it’s worth it if the event goes ahead but if the NZFW is cancelled for good this year, to say it will leave many designers out of pocket is an understatement. Despite this, Crisp is optimistic.
“I always like to look on the bright side and if this is just ‘pause’ then it gives me extra time to finish off our looks for the show and to spend time with my lovely boyfriend! Although it’s not ideal, it’s not all bad.”
Of course, it’s not just the designers that suffer – countless other contractors like makeup artists, hair stylists, models and photographers who were booked for the shows will now be out of work. The one shining light is the fact it’s a postponement, and not a cancellation.
“I’m hoping very much that this is a simple reshuffle, with much of the work already underway, including the beginning of pack-in that was due to start today, can be transferred to another date,” says Stewart. “As we cannot predict the period of this lockdown, the event rescheduling hinges on the venue availability for the period of time we would need it.”
Crisp, who has moved her operation to her home (with the help of a ute to transport the industrial machine/s!), says she will keep chipping away and adapt as covid updates occur.
“I am going to continue to sew this week to ensure everything that I wanted to be ready will be ready. I have made a few special one-off show pieces that still need to be seen! All of the communication we have had from NZFW has been incredibly positive and it sounds as though it is just being postponed. I will absolutely still do a show if it is postponed, I can always change and adapt the looks depending on when the new date is…and I still very much look forward to it!”
So do we Caitlin, so do we!