Haydon Clothing Manufacturing Co Ltd in Palmerston North, 1939
The Love Local campaign from some of New Zealand's 's top fashion designers is raising funds to invest in the future of local manufacturing - here's why that's important.
Finding positives in this scary, stressful year is glorious. One such positive is New Zealanders celebrating local more than ever before. Supporting local brands, local creativity, local craft and manufacturing.
As part of the bigger sustainability movement we have all been shifting more and more local for a few years, but Covid-19 has really heightened people’s awareness and commitment, and this is only going to get stronger over the unknown days and months ahead.
For consumers and manufacturers alike, sustainability has to become a core tenant in all our decisions and buying local is intrinsic to these decisions.
So far so good, but the scary thing is that decades of globalisation and fast fashion driving prices down through offshore production has resulted in a very fragile, very small local clothing industry made up of an ageing workforce and antiquated machinery.
I liken it to an endangered species, and without support and T.L.C. our New Zealand manufacturing base could become extinct.
I co-founded Mindful Fashion with Ruby's Emily Miller-Sharma in early 2019 to begin to address some of these challenges of our unique local industry. Our goal was to unite the local industry in a way that hadn’t been done before, to share challenges, problem solve and reverse a shrinking industry. We are now at over 35 members who’ve joined in their support of this vision who come from all parts of the supply chain; designers, fabric suppliers and manufacturers.
At MFNZ we’ve identified that our industry needs crucial investment, it needs a voice to lobby government and it needs training and apprenticeships to grow the workforce, but this all costs money.
Love Local is a Boosted campaign to raise the funds MFNZ needs to create a robust programme of projects to strengthen and grown the teams of crafts people and makers that ensure Made in NZ is possible.
This isn’t funding to support designers or brands, it is funding to support the machinists, cutters, embroiderers, screen printers, buttonholers, pressers, smockers and knitters behind the scenes who make the clothes we love.
Love Local is about acting now to protect our industry for the future. Without local manufacturing I would have never been able to launch my own label.
Making product offshore requires big minimums and big financial commitments. In our unique local industry, you can invest in minimal units which offers an opportunity for young New Zealand brands to be creative and bold. You can experiment and afford to make mistakes that won’t bankrupt you, and you can be nurtured by experts in their craft with so much knowledge. That’s why we’ve always had such a thriving culture of designers in New Zealand.
For me, it is about ensuring the success of a new generation of Kate Sylvester, RUBY, Zambesi and Juliette Hogans. Ensuring New Zealand’s creatives can create in New Zealand.
You can support the Love Local campaign through Boosted here.