A major debrief will be held in the next few weeks by the iD Dunedin Fashion Week committee to unravel and review why this year’s show is expected to make a significant loss.
The committee has already blamed superstar Adele’s three concerts in Auckland as a major reason for reduced sales. Adele sang to three sell-out crowds in Auckland during the time the fashion shows were held in Dunedin.
The Dunedin Airport car park was packed from Thursday until Sunday as southerners headed north to be at one of the three concerts, taking valuable spending dollars away from the fashion week.
Air New Zealand put on four extra flights from Dunedin to Auckland to cope with demand from Adele fans, lending credence to iD committee chairwoman Cherie Lucas’ claims about the concerts drawing away people who would normally have attended.
However, it is too simplistic to simply blame an event in another city. After all, world entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson was also in Auckland speaking to a group of New Zealand established and rising business leaders and there were several sporting events on at the weekend.
People are starting to value their discretionary dollars as interest rates start to rise and the iD committee needs to consider some of the realities of the current climate.
New Zealand may be doing well as a country, and some people are doing well. But is there a limit to how much people can spend seeing a fashion show at Dunedin’s wonderful railway station.
Many people in the South have already been to the fashion shows. For years, tickets were hard to come by because the event was a must-see.
But times change and one only has to look at the state of the Wellington Sevens rugby tournament to realise there are cycles to every event. Perhaps the iD Dunedin Fashion Week has reached a point where something significantly different needs to emerge from the review.
Is the formula tired? There is no doubt the event adds a special lustre to the city. Seeing people dressed up strolling through the Octagon as they head for the railway station is wonderful. There is also no doubt people enjoy the shows and have a great time.
But what compelling case did iD Fashion make to ensure people not interested in heading to Auckland for Adele attended the local event? One of the things the committee plans to consider is whether the awards should continue at the railway station. The station has seemed ideal in the past and whether another venue can offer such a ”Dunedin experience” should be considered part of the review.
The iD Fashion Week has had its difficulties with funding and sponsorship and those are issues which need addressing.
Dunedin has a great tradition for innovation through clever people doing clever things the rest of the world wants. Promoting innovative fashion has to remain part of the city’s cultural experiences. Fashion is a high-end product which can exhibit the cute and quirky, along with the practical – as demonstrated by Swandri using injured Highlanders to model its clothes.
What is now needed from the iD committee is a flare, a flame or spark of light which can be quickly turned into a practical solution to not only keep the fashion week running but reverse the two years of losses after a solid profit in 2015. The committee cannot rely on reserves much longer to cover losses, and members will understand this.
A suggestion: Bring in some of the smart young technology entrepreneurs to help push the discussion in different directions.
Some suggestions may not be practical but there will be enough ideas rattling around for someone to grasp on to and develop the one which may work. There is a huge pool of talent in Dunedin just waiting to help.