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It’s amazing how many local talented designers are out there, truly amazing. And thankfully, we have some amazing people organising these fashion shows to expose these hidden talents. There is obviously no shortage of talent and of course no shortage of inspiration particularly for a country like Papua New Guinea where our diverse culture and traditions are readily available to inspire.
There is one issue that is apparent in this industry that is possibly a major stumbling block.
That is, the inability or slow progress to turn designs seen on the runway into big business deals. That is why, we think that going forward, fashion shows must be turned into business conventions.
A convention where there is an obvious opportunity that designers by participating in the fashion show have a far greater chance of walking away from the runway with a major contract in hand or at least a potential lead or two.
For this to happen, organisers of fashion shows must direct their attention to convincing key personnels from fashion retailers to attend the show. In actual fact, it should be a mandatory requirement in that the hosting of a fashion show should depend on the number of key personnel agreeing to attend the show.
Who are these key personnel?
They would typically be the managers in charge of the buying department. You know, the ones who decide whether their organisation should buy a given product for them to sell at their shop.
While designers do love the attention they get from the fashion shows, their continued existence depends on making profitable and sustainable alignments with key retail brands.
The effect of having an audience of key decision makers has a flowing effect on the designers. It makes them more competitive. Competition brings innovation and in turn brings quality to a product or an event.
A designer attending an event should know at the outset that there’s potential business opportunities out their in the audience.
But then again, the PNG fashion industry is still at an infant stage and relatively new which means the number of retailers or suppliers is limited too.
Understandably, fashion show organisers are also in it to make a profit and rightly so. Their effort in coming up with unique fashion show themes and ideas together with the logistics aspects of hosting such an event is business too so they need to sell their tickets at a profitable price.
But having said that, selling tickets should be secondary to getting decision makers of retailers on seats for the show. While fashion shows provide an effective platform to showcase the work of designers, having the right people as the audience from a designers perspective should be of first priority because the ultimate goal is to align designers with retail brands.
Should this occur, it will undoubtedly enhance the quality of show. Designers become even more competitive resulting in even more unique and quality designs. The shows becomes ever more prestigious and there is a reasonable level of benefiting sharing from the one show.
Perhaps, the only drawback is the limited number of retailers within the local industry but there is nothing stopping our designers from venturing out overseas with unique quality and culturally inspired designs suitable for a foreign market.
We’d like to see more news about local designers teaming up with big retail businesses as a result of a successful fashion show. Only time will tell.
Do you agree with this view? Please comment below.