Changes in NZ Fashion in the Past 10 Years


50 years ago all New Zealand (NZ) fashion was made in New Zealand because there was no importing of clothes from offshore. Indeed women had been taught to sew and made their own clothes for economic reasons and because they could. Much has changed in the last 50 years and particularly in the last 10 years or so.

So what happened to New Zealand fashion?
As New Zealand urban areas grew and more people moved into towns from the rural areas attitudes towards clothing changed too. A growing demand for ready made clothes meant that small businesses grew up catering to people who didn’t have the skills or time to make their own. In the late 1990’s there was a push from the government to support the emerging fashion industry and develop an export market. New Zealand designers such as Karen Walker, Zambesi and Trelise Cooper were all launched on to the International scene at Australian fashion shows.

Recent Trends
Imports have continued to flood the New Zealand high street often inspired by the latest catwalk trends. There is a huge gap between the impractical catwalk styles and what consumers actually want to buy. There has been a growth in small businesses designing to fill the gap in the market between expensive, designer style and cheap catwalk knock-offs with sophisticated and practical clothing.

There is increasing demand for supporting locally made products, by local designers using New Zealand labour rather than cheap imports. Just think about the popularity of NZ merino wool! Many consumers are becoming more environmentally aware and there has been a resurgence in ‘vintage’ clothing and recycling. More awareness of the conditions in which workers create the cheap imports has an impact on many consumers. Whilst there is an increase in the export business for NZ designers there is also an increasing demand for home-grown designs.

Support New Zealand Fashion Designers
To support New Zealand made and New Zealand fashion designers you can frequent the high street stores and the boutiques avoiding the cheap chain stores. Buy New Zealand made and support the resurgence of a manufacturing industry in New Zealand. Be wary of New Zealand designed but still manufactured abroad because it’s cheaper!

Globalisation has had a positive impact on New Zealand exports but has also negatively impacted the fashion industry in New Zealand due to cheap imports. There will always be a market and demand for high quality, ethically produced clothing in New Zealand though.

Bossy B is one such label that is 100% New Zealand designed and manufactured. The bonus is that even if you don’t live in Rotorua you can still buy our designs by shopping online at As well as our own label we stock a wide range of NZ womens fashion labels online.

Designers include: Alibi, Charcoal, Democracy, Vivid, Stone Hill Merino, Jendi, Soxtrot, Elm, Tantrum, Lemon Tree Clothing Design and Libertine. To check out the latest in women’s fashion sales be sure to visit our website and select from the range available to suit women size 8 to 18. Orders are shipped direct so you can try on in the comfort of your own home (please refer to our website for the returns and shipping policies).


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