Fashion goes up in flames
A Dunedin fashion designer lost about 70 per cent of her label in a fire that damaged an Invercargill manufacturing business this week, while other Southland and Otago designers also lost thousands of dollars worth of garments.
But all are optimistic about their futures.
The Dee St building was severely damaged by the fire but a closed door at the rear of the building helped save some items.
Owner Jo Singer said she was devastated but determined to carry on her business.
"I'm trying to do my best to help the designers get their orders out. It looks quite promising, I've got some place to go to ... so we can all move on," she said.
Dunedin designer Sara Aspinall lost about 70 per cent of her Company of Strangers label in the fire.
About 400 garments in various stages of production were destroyed, including the patterns for her new label Strange Love, which could not be reproduced.
She was devastated and needed to sort things to keep food on the table, Ms Aspinall said. She had replaced fabric and was optimistic her garments could be remade.
"I cannot afford to remake them, but on the other hand, I cannot afford not to make them - it's my livelihood," she said.
Ms Aspinall was searching for a sponsor so she could take her designs to Auckland for New Zealand Fashion Week.
Like Ms Singer, she was determined to keep going.
"We are in the same boat. It's a bad time, but we are not going to let that hold us down."
Queenstown designer Claire Brinsley said she lost a few patterns and two summer frock designs from her label Claire Bloom. She believed about 20 or 30 of each garment, one of which was the "happiness dress", had been made.
Although the fabric was no longer available to remake the dresses, she counted herself lucky she had not lost more and still had master patterns, she said.
She was grateful for the support she had received but said it would be business as usual because she had enough summer stock to send to stores.
She was amazed by the determination and progress that had been made by Ms Singer.
"Jo and her team at Land South have been wonderful during these past few days.
"She is doing everything she can to support us designers, so that we can bring our lovely garments to our stores on time.
"She could have thrown in the towel but she has not and is going out of her way to get back on her feet," Ms Brinsley said.
Insurance would cover the loss.
Nom*D owner Margi Robertson said although she did not physically lose anything, production was affected.
Her fabric was in the cutting room, which was not affected by the fire, and she was looking for another factory to make her 900 garments, she said.
She praised Ms Singer for not giving up.
Ms Singer said she was heartened by the support.
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