Louise Mills says she’s worked almost every role at New Zealand Fashion Week since 2003. Photo Paul Mitchell

New Zealand Fashion Week is celebrating its 20th event this February with one of the largest ever Waiheke Island contingents.

Waiheke resident and Fashion Week brand partnerships manager Myken Stewart has always tried to bring as many island businesses and fashion professionals into the event as possible – giving them the chance to catch international attention.

Stewart says 2022 would be the event’s biggest year yet for the Waiheke contingent with half a dozen businesses and individuals confirmed, and a few more in final stages of inking in their participation.

Jeanine Clarkin, a respected designer and pioneer of Māori-inspired fashion, is set to be part of one of the week’s highlights – a 20-year retrospective catwalk show that will cover key moments in the event’s history. 

“It will feature all of the designers that have played a key part in Fashion Week, that are still around – around 50 will take part,” Myken says.

Myken says her life has been interwoven with the annual event since her mother, Dame Pieter Stewart, founded it in 2000. She says she’s really proud of the platform they had built for Kiwi businesses but was ready to move on to new projects outside the industry now that Fashion Week was no longer her family’s business, she said.

This year will be Myken’s last as an organiser of the event, after it was sold to Fiji-born businessman Feroz Ali last year, and she is determined to head out with a bang.

“I’m really excited for this one, because there will be a lot more access for people.”

The biggest example of that will be the trade-show portion of the event opening to the public for the first time via large screens in Aotea Square that will give audiences a window onto the catwalks usually reserved for industry insiders and the well-connected.

Full story in this week’s Gulf News… Out Now!!!

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