Powerful creative forces are at work in New Zealand, producing unique clothing and fashion labels that any trendsetting traveller would be proud to wear. From spectacular events to boutique stores, a holiday centred on shopping and style is fast becoming a popular way to experience chic side of Kiwi culture.
And New Zealand’s thriving fashion scene isn’t just for the ladies – blokes will also get a kick out of what’s on offer during this artsy and unique holiday.
Where better to start than Wellington, the creative (and actual) capital of New Zealand. This windy, wonderful city – which Lonely Planet dubbed “the coolest little capital in the world” – is a hub of art, design and culture, and is positively buzzing with originality. Wellington draws in visitors in for this vibrant scene, but also tempts tourists with the off-the-wall event that is the World of WearableArt (WOW).
The City Farmers’ Market at Britomart
Billed as ‘Mardis Gras meets haute couture’, WOW is about bringing together art and fashion. More than 300 designers show off their garments that have been handmade using both unconventional materials (such as feathers, tyres and even human hair) and a healthy dose of Kiwi ingenuity. Visitors can attend the shows, taking place between 24 September and 11 October.
If you fancy further exploring the history of WOW, head down to Nelson in New Zealand’s South Island to see where it all began. The World of WearableArt & Classic Cars Museum houses the crazy creations from finalists and winners from the past 25 years, showing exactly how far the phenomenon has come since it launched in 1988. The show moved from Nelson to Wellington in 2003.
For fashion lovers wanting to get ahead of the curve, Auckland – New Zealand’s largest city in the North Island – is where it’s at. NZ Fashion Week is held at the height of winter, but is easily one of the country’s hottest events, hitting the runway between 24-30 August. It not only features the who’s who of the local fashion scene, but also gives attendees a preview of the unique vision and artistry that goes into defining New Zealand’s leading trends.
Despite being known as the City of Sails, visitors could be forgiven for believing Auckland to be the ‘City of Sales’, thanks to the abundance of high street boutiques and shops weaving their way through the revitalised waterfront and central suburbs.
The historic Britomart precinct houses some of the city’s best shopping, where visitors can browse and window-shop all day long. On the other side of the CBD, Ponsonby is known for local boutique shops and homeware along one long, trendy stretch of road. It’s also the perfect place to grab a bite, with many of the cafes and restaurants consistently rated as the country’s best.
After a meal, shoppers can head to Newmarket for top designer stores, while hipster travellers should swing by Karangahape Road. With an abundance of vintage finds and pre-loved clothes, K’Road, as it is affectionately known, is a treasure trove of hidden goodies. Visitors can easily jump on the green Link bus, which loops around central Auckland to ensure you never run out of steam.
On this shopping trip across the country, visitors will be introduced to some of New Zealand’s top designers, who are internationally recognised for their cutting edge labels and vision.
Karen Walkeris probably New Zealand’s most well known designer, thanks to her signature androgynous style and popular sunglasses sold around the world (even Madonna and Jennifer Lopez call themselves fans). Walker is part of ‘The New Zealand Four’ – which also includesNom*D, Zambesi and World – who first took Kiwi style international at London Fashion Week back in 1999. Visitors can shop these prestigious labels in-store across the country, and may even be lucky enough to meet the designers themselves, who often pop into their flagship stores in Auckland, Wellington and Dunedin.
NZ Fashion Week
A serious shopping trip works up an appetite, and an excursion is never complete without a good meal. Thankfully, good food is always in fashion in New Zealand, and as well as the a multitude of great cafes, the country’s booming farmers’ markets are a great place to stock up on wholesome, home-grown grub while rubbing shoulders with the locals.
hile many farmers’ markets are situated in rural communities, their popularity has led to a surge of vibrant markets popping up in and around the country’s biggest cities. When shopping in Auckland, take a break at The City Farmers’ Market at Britomart or The Parnell Farmers’ Market for incredible coffees, baked goods, organic fresh produce and soul-soothing hot chocolates on a chilly day.
While travelling the country from north to south, visit the Farmers’ Markets NZ website to point you in the right direction for the trendiest and most tempting markets in town.
More information on New Zealand fashion, shopping and events can be found at: