The future of Fashion Week is under threat as sponsorship is hit by the Rugby World Cup.
At opening night last evening director Pieter Stewart called on the Government to back the event, saying a 12th year couldn’t be guaranteed.
Fashion Industry executive officer Mapihi Opai says Government funding for fashion has been pretty slim in recent years.
She says help is needed for Fashion Week to continue on the same track.
“It is a family business, the resources are limited, they do a fantastic job in getting the millions together it takes to stage this event every year,” she told Newstalk ZB’s Mike Hosking. “But just imagine how much better it could be if that support was there.”

Fashion Week’s opening night was swimming along in champagne until managing director Pieter Stewart burst the bubble with a stark warning that the event could not continue without more support.
Minutes after Auckland Mayor Len Brown and Rugby World Cup Minister Murray McCully lauded its contribution to branding Auckland and New Zealand as a creative country, Stewart stepped up to the podium to say that a 12th year showcasing the industry could not be guaranteed.
Sponsorship had been tough this year, she said.
“Rugby World Cup has taken a huge amount out of the economy.”
More sponsors were needed and local and central government also needed to look at backing the event.
It had all been going so nicely. Dan Carter and fiancee Honor Dillon were there. Photographers circled as celebrities mingled. Everyone agreed the new Viaduct Events Centre was much nicer than the old venue in the creaky sheds next door on Halsey St.
Looking out from the second floor function room, dubbed the Moet lounge for the week, the city positively sparkles, a worthy home to one of the world’s established fashion weeks.
Yet step onto the balcony and the seemingly international skyline framed by the windows shrinks to what it really is, just a handful of high rises.
McCully, who had told the crowd the Government was proud to partner with Fashion Week for a Cup event in October at the waterfront Cloud venue, said afterwards that he would pass the call for help back to agencies and relevant ministers.
“One of the reasons RWC leverages off New Zealand Fashion Week is I can see the role for overall branding of the country.”
Designers Trelise Cooper and Liz Mitchell said they were not surprised by Stewart’s message.
Cooper said the week provided a platform for designers who brought in much needed export dollars. It was a stepping stone for designers and it also attracted people into the city where they spent money.
“I’m hosting Australian retailers and they’re not just here for one night.”

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