New Zealand Fashion Week announces focus on sustainability

NZFW Sustainability announcement

Finale at Good Magazine’s NZ Fashion Weekend 2018 show. Image by Lyle Adams.

Sustainability is set to be a focus of New Zealand Fashion Week 2019 with the event’s ethos in line with the global and local shift towards being sustainable. NZFW will integrate sustainability across all elements of the event from designers, runway shows and seminars to workshops, markets, walking tours and onsite waste reduction.

“Globally the fashion industry is often seen as one of the world’s most highly polluting, but New Zealand has a long-held reputation as a clean, green country and we want to ensure this is showcased and celebrated at the event this year,” says NZFW founder and managing director Dame Pieter Stewart.

“Sustainability is a big focus for NZFW and it’s the first year it has been at the heart of the event. This is just the beginning for us.”

A seminar on sustainability held in partnership with the Ministry of Social Development with support from the Auckland Chamber of Commerce will be a highlight of NZFW. It will take place in the Concert Chamber at Auckland’s Town Hall and projected live onto big screens in Aotea Square over two hours. Featuring a line-up of leading names in sustainable fashion, including Mindful Fashion NZ, and sustainability leaders in NZ, it will be a fascinating discussion for all those interested in sustainability.

“The seminar will highlight the role that leading businesses are playing in addressing social issues through employment and other avenues, illustrating how competitive advantage can be created through social sustainability initiatives,” says Amanda Nicolle, Ministry of Social Development’s director of industry partnerships.

Among the designer names already announced for NZFW there are many who have ethical and sustainable practices in their businesses including designer Maggie Hewitt of Maggie Marilyn. She set about creating a sustainable brand from the beginning and creates livable luxury pieces that are innovative and elegant.

“We believe in a fashion industry that is regenerative and inclusive and this will always inspire our collections,” says founder and designer Maggie Hewitt. “Expect to see beautiful clothing and walk away with new insight into how our garments are made and the sustainable fabrications used.”

Co-founder of Mindful Fashion NZ and veteran designer Kate Sylvester has long made sustainability a key part of her brand. While footwear designer Kathryn Wilson is a firm believer in ethical and sustainable business practices. Benjamin Alexander who will make his runway debut this year will be showcasing his ethical take on luxe womenswear.

Sustainability will run through the four days of trade shows at NZFW 2019 and into Fashion Weekend where the public get to enjoy the best that the event has to offer too. The NZ Fashion Weekend Sustainability Show in partnership with the Auckland Council and the Central City Library Tāmaki Pātaka Kōrero, will go beyond the runway and into Auckland Library offering more visitors the chance to be involved.

There will also be a range of free fashion activations around the city centre across NZ Fashion Week and Weekend thanks to Auckland Council and Auckland Library. Including sewing and textile upcycling workshops and the Swap it Like it’s Hot 3.0 Recycled Clothing Swap.

The NZFW team are taking their commitment to sustainability seriously with the event aiming to keep a minimum of 70% of waste out of landfill, a percentage which they hope to increase year on year. Delegate passes, which in previous years came in plastic pouches, will now be made from recycled materials, and reusable delegate and goodie bags will be available. Sustainability is far from a trend and is becoming an intrinsic part of fashion which is definitely a change for good.

NZFW Sustainability announcement

Images by Lyle Adams.

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