Myself (front left) and Director of Photography James Yang (back left) interviewing designer Trish Peng (right) in July 2021. Image by Lyle Adams.
New Zealand Fashion Week (NZFW) would have been celebrating the event’s 20th anniversary last week but due to our nation’s return to Alert Level 4 on August 18th, this year’s event has been postponed with new dates still to be confirmed. While we’re waiting for the event’s return, we’ve got something special to share in the meantime that was created as a fitting celebration of the past 20 years of New Zealand Fashion Week. We’re pretty excited to share this film which was created in partnership with Auckland Unlimited and in association with New Zealand Fashion Week.
When FashioNZ was asked to create the film back in June, we jumped at the opportunity, while I’ve personally been in fashion and media for 13 years (as FashioNZ’s editor for nearly six years), before that I was in film and television for eight years after I graduated film school. I love directing and I’ve interviewed hundreds of people over the years, not to mention I’ve been involved with New Zealand Fashion Week in some form or other since 2006. Combining my love of fashion with my love of filmmaking to make a film about NZFW was a no-brainer, the same for our creative team from FashioNZ; James Yang, Carolyn Ebrey and Lyle Adams. With Angus Ludwig-McDougall from Auckland Unlimited on board as executive producer we set about putting the film into pre-production in June.
To celebrate New Zealand Fashion Week’s 20th anniversary it was fitting that we started with going back through 20 years’ worth of archive footage from the event, which brought back some great memories of all the incredible shows over the years. There are certainly some big moments that everyone remembers like Pamela Anderson’s appearance with designer Richie Rich in 2009, which had a huge amount of attention at the time. There’s a great deal of archive material in the film sourced from countless DVDs, hard drives and digitised VHS tapes which was a lot of fun to go through and captures how the event and fashion has evolved over these past 20 years. We tried our best to include as many designers and brands from NZFW’s history as we possibly could.
Kate Sylvester shared some fascinating insights as one of the few designers who has shown at NZFW since the beginning. Image by Lyle Adams.
Narrowing down the list of people to interview was definitely a challenge as there has been hundreds, if not thousands, of people involved over the years including designers, models, creative teams, producers etc. We wanted to tell the story of NZFW through the voices of the people who were there from the beginning, including founder Dame Pieter Stewart, and progressing to those who got involved over the years like designers Kathryn Wilson and Marc Moore, through to the more recent additions like model Isabella Moore and designer Bobby Luke, all of whom have had an impact on the event. Then there’s all the talented creatives like Mana Dave, Kiekie Stanners and Sammy Salsa who have helped bring the designers’ vision to life.
Over three weeks in July we interviewed 17 people and filmed in 21 locations, it was wonderful to hear everyone’s stories, some of the interviewees favourite moments from New Zealand Fashion Week are hilarious and we’ve got some great ones in the film. We also touch on what the event means to the industry, as it has launched many careers and served as an incredible platform to promote our local talent to the world. In the early years of the event there were a lot of international media and buyers flown in and the connections made helped some of our most successful brands to build strong businesses. It’s such a privilege to share the stories of our interviewees and we can’t wait for you to hear what they have to say.
As part of our partnership with Auckland Unlimited we also showcased Auckland as a fashion destination and shared how the city has evolved alongside the event. Auckland is my hometown, as it is for James and Carolyn, we all grew up here and have experienced the huge growth Auckland has enjoyed over our lifetimes so far. As much as this film is intended as a celebration of New Zealand Fashion Week’s 20 years, it’s also a bit of a love letter to Auckland.
Thank you to everyone who helped make this film possible, it was such a fantastic project to work on and we’re so excited to share it with you. We look forward to celebrating New Zealand Fashion Week’s 20th anniversary in person when the event is able to be rescheduled, in the meantime we hope you enjoy this film.
Director and Producer
Director of Photography
Dame Pieter Stewart
Dame Trelise Cooper
Art Director and Music Supervisor
Stills Photography and Lighting Assistant
And Then Agency
Makeup and Hair
Behind the scenes gallery images by Carolyn Ebrey, Lyle Adams and James Yang.