A study shows that our graduate fashion designers are disrupting the status quo in the fashion industry.

Recent research by Tracy Kennedy and Tania Allan Ross has identified similarities in the modus operandi of emerging fashion designers. They undertook a study of the online presence of the six recent fashion graduates from Otago Polytechnic who had established businesses within five years of graduation.

  • The emerging designers are all using social media platforms to inform and communicate with their customers. They are connecting directly with customers through skilled management of promotional platforms.
  • They all engage with socially and environmentally sustainable practices and principles across a range of models including upcycling, ethical practices, slow fashion and conscious systems with consideration for materials selection, low waste and a transparent supply chain. 

Together these trends position the fashion designers as change agents within the fashion industry. Each of them is developing and maintaining a economically viable business alongside promotion of ethical and environmental concerns. They are building a community of practice, collaborating with like-minded people concerned about the future of the fashion industry and sustainability politics. 

March 2022

Image credits: Fashion design: Rosette Hailes-Paku. Model: Te Awarangi Te Roera Puna. Stylist: Chloe Hill. Photograph: Mia Vinaccia.