FREE|STYLE goes from showroom to showroom over the next few weeks, and invites our dynamic fashion PRs to share a look back at 2012. First up and requiring no introduction, Showroom 22.
c/- Guy Coombes for twenty-seven names
Owner: Murray Bevan
Showroom Manager: Anna-Lise Sharma
Celebrity and New Media Manager: Isabelle Tolich
Interns: Paris Mitchell and Kyle De Raedt
FREE|STYLE: Let’s go back: what was your first event of 2012?
Murray: On February 23rd we produced the inaugural 'Shop One Night' online shopping event with local fashion website 'Shop What's New'. This was a 7-hour online shopping marathon with bloggers, media, celebs and designers coming together to promote exclusive online shopping deals.
F|S: What labels have you seen come to (and go from) the showroom this year?
Murray: We're really excited to have just launched Georgia Alice in the showroom for winter 2013. She's a fresh young designer, the likes of which we haven't seen since the days when Juliette Hogan, Alexandra Owen and twenty-seven names launched.
Photography by Oliver Rose and styling by Emma Gleason
We've also taken on Gorman and I Love Ugly, both of whom have enjoyed steady successes this year, and we've welcomed Kingan Jones back into the showroom, too. Beth Ellery and Camille Howie downsized their businesses to spend more time raising their new babies, and of course Alexandra Owen shut down her business in order to move offshore and find new opportunities.
F|S: How did Showroom 22 develop this year?
Murray: It's all about being pro-active for us now. We made the shift from being reactive to proactive late in 2011 and the change has been immense. We now create ideas, events and projects for clients before they know they need them. It's a lot of fun and puts us firmly in the driving seat when it comes to communicating a brand's direction and strategy. I've also begun to undertake more corporate consultation, bringing younger fashion designers to the fore with big companies – my role is as a connector, and after 10 years in the business I'm finding our brand name is really trusted in the marketplace now.
The showroom has been more successful than ever – in June we had our busiest month in 10 years in terms of trafficking product to photo shoots. And the development of a new role to enhance celebrity relationships and endorsements, as well as a major focus on 'New Media' (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc) has been very rewarding.
F|S: What was your biggest event of the year?
Murray: Definitely our 10 year birthday party and 'Blue Sky' spring/summer showcase in April. This was an event we created to give designers a summer trade showcase – the event included summer runway presentations from Juliette Hogan, Alexandra Owen and Salasai, and we executed the concept again (for winter 2013) with twenty-seven names and Ingrid Starnes at NZFW which was a big success.
Juliette Hogan at Blue Sky, April 2012
F|S: What was your biggest client news of the year?
Murray: There's been a lot of action this year across the board. The launch of Karen Walker Diamond has been big, the expansion of the I Love Ugly brand into retail was a major move for them, and the rise of Ingrid Starnes has also been very pleasing to watch.
F|S: Share your most nail-biting moment of 2012…
Murray: MC'ing the Whitecliffe Fashion Show on the weekend in front of 800 people and the microphone wouldn't work!
F|S: Of your view of the industry, what has changed over 12 months?
Murray: Businesses have become more focussed on the necessities of their world. They've trimmed the fat. This has led to a re-evaluation of what works and what doesn't in the industry, including retail concepts, event strategies, fashion week planning, sponsorship sourcing, endorsements and social media interaction.
F|S: What will be your last event of 2012?
Murray: The grand opening of Juliette Hogan's second retail store in the new Britomart Pavilions development.
F|S: Never again will Showroom 22 be..?
Murray: …Content with the successes of yesterday.
F|S: Showroom 22 can't wait..?
Murray:…To enjoy a well-deserved break over Christmas!
F|S: Under Showroom 22's dream Christmas tree is..?
Murrray:…a full set of Jo Malone candles!
F|S: Three words that sum up Showroom 22's 2012?
Murray: Pro-active, Optimistic, Fun.