Fashion labels vie for export prize
Two Auckland fashion labels are competing for a top export scholarship that could launch them onto the international stage.
I Love Ugly and Ingrid Starnes have been named as finalists, along with designer Gosia Piatek of Wellington brand kowtow, for the DHL Express Fashion Export Scholarship.
International freight worth $10,000 is at stake, along with tailored Fashion Industry New Zealand export mentoring and membership.
The winner will be announced in Auckland on Tuesday.
Designers were invited to submit a portfolio of their work to be judged by industry leaders such as Kate Sylvester, entrepreneur Erica Crawford and fashion commentator Carolyn Enting.
For the first time the competition was open to online-only exporters - something organisers said recognised the contribution they made to the market.
''We were delighted with the calibre of entrants,'' DHL Express NZ spokeswoman Megan Wildermoth said.
''But the chosen three are impressive in the New Zealand fashion scene and have demonstrated strong export potential in terms of design and strategy.''
The team at I Love Ugly is among those with a strong strategic online presence, combined with traditional retail, Wildermoth said.
Their menswear range is described as ''easy and very sell-able online''.
Ingrid Starnes, whose designs organisers said were "beautifully put together with a lot of style", is supported well domestically and had the potential to take off in export markets.