Retail fashion boom in city

Evolution Clothing area manager Nikki Webster, of Mount Maunganui, prepares the company's new...
Evolution Clothing area manager Nikki Webster, of Mount Maunganui, prepares the company's new George St store for today's opening, helped by shop assistants Lania Paul (left) and Bridget Robertson. It is one of six new fashion stores opening in Dunedin this month. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
Retail fashion in Dunedin is going from strength to strength.

Six shops are opening in the central city this month, including the first dedicated retail spaces for Dunedin designers Charmaine Reveley, Fiona Clements and Donna Tulloch.

Fellow Dunedin designer Tamsin Cooper is opening a new ground-floor store in Moray Pl, and White By Design has relocated from Roslyn Village to George St.

Evolution Clothing, established in Mount Maunganui, is also opening a George St shop today, its seventh nationwide.

More than 300 people applied for three jobs at the shop, the most in the company's history.

Otago Chamber of Commerce chief executive John Christie said Dunedin was known as a fashion destination, and it was encouraging to see further growth in the city's retail fashion scene.

''It shows how strong the design and fashion industry is for us. It attracts people to come here for a unique shopping experience.''

Mr Christie said Dunedin fashion was a secondary drawcard for many conference delegates and their partners, who were typically big retail spenders.

''The timing of these new shops is particularly good with iD coming up soon, and it just gives people an additional reason to come to Dunedin. It's exciting and it bodes particularly well for fashion retailers,'' he said.

Evolution Clothing fashion director Miranda Cobb, of Mount Maunganui, said the company had a strong student following and for years customers had suggested a Dunedin store.

She liked Dunedin's ''condensed'' shopping area and said residents seemed to be open-minded about fashion.

The flourish of retail fashion activity follows steady growth in the Dunedin market.

Last year Dunedin designer Sara Munro opened her first Company of Strangers store in George St, alongside many other well-established local outlets.

Next week Ms Reveley will join them, selling her own clothing lines as well as other designer garments, accessories, footwear, jewellery and cosmetics.

She will also eventually move her workroom from Dowling St to George St. Ms Clements and fellow environmental designer Shigeko Iwamuro will open Dunedin's first sustainable fashion hub in Jetty St during iD Dunedin Fashion Week, which starts on March 29.

There Ms Clements will create and sell her fully recycled Senorita AweSUMO line.

Mild-Red designer and director Donna Tulloch will also open her new retail space during iD, having revamped the back of her York Pl building into a retail hub, where her clothing will be sold with artwork and other design products.

One of Dunedin's more established fashion designers, Mrs Tulloch said it was vital to meet the growing demand of customers and be relevant in today's market.

''If you don't move it, you lose it. We've always been a wholesaler and we'll continue to supply wholesale, but we have to move forward and the demand is there for retail as well as online.''



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