Interview: Zandra Rhodes

“fashion week will be judging the emerging designer collections at the iD Awards show.Zandra Rhodes, International Fashion Designer, says “I’m absolutely thrilled to be coming to beautiful New Zealand and very excited about my first ever visit to Dunedin and iD Fashion Week. A highlight of the I’ll be looking for originality and flair in their collections and that special something that sets them apart as a designer.”

Do you think that emerging designers these days (especially those from out of Europe) have more or differing challenges to what you faced when you were first starting out?
The challenges are different and more difficult because there are so many who want to be designers. The art colleges are encouraged to turn out more and more designers and ‘design’ is the fashionable word and it is more and more difficult to get students who want to work on production. “Making things” is still encouraged in China and India where they are not “all Chiefs and no Indians!” Additionally everyone is now faced with competition after competition, before learning the ground work.
What part of the fashion industry do you believe emerging designers may be naieve about, to the extent that it could threaten their longevity in the business?
Many are naieve about the making and technicalities. Currently these faults are disguised because of the current craze for things to look asymmetrical and “badly made”. Fashion is a learning curve and the only constant is change so to survive, one must be a tight rope walker and hope to maintain an individual touch even when the moods swing.

zfaceWhere do you believe the line is drawn between creatively outstanding and marketable fashion, or do you believe there is no line?
Currently the problem is that there is no line! The young are sitting targets to the publicity campaigns like Dior where it is not clearly shown that what goes out on the runway is paid for by Champagne and then Dior sells classic handbags and makeup all owned by the same Dior company. The clothes found in the Dior shops bear no resemblance to what was seen on the runway. Also, publicity wise fashion is geared to the young and there is a tremendous market if one can catch a taste of what is in the air but be able to re-interpret it for the not so young!

How can emerging designers who win accolades leverage them to their best advantage?
They must never let their heads be turned by the accolades. The designers must try to use these breaks to get their foot in the door before the light fades! Never believe everything you read about yourself!!

What are you hoping to see most amongst the entries to iD’s Emerging Designer awards?
Something new and individual but wearable. I hope everything is not all black and if it is a New Zealand entry, maybe something about it that will make it “only New Zealand”.

  • Highlights of iD Dunedin emerging designer awards 2009 in pictures, here.

Tickets are available at TicketDirect venues, Ph 0800 4 TICKET or online at and a booking fee applies.

iD Dunedin thanks Anderson Lloyd for sponsoring Zandra Rhodes and Andrew Logan's visits.

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