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By Diana Clarke
September 02, 2014
By Diana Clarke
September 02, 2014

I'm not going to pretend like you haven't heard of online fashion giant ASOS. The global retailer sells over 65, 000 branded and own-label products to 234 countries over the globe from their distribution centre in the UK. With a neat 29.5 million unique viewers a month, it's no wonder the brand has become a household name since its inception in the year 2000. Since then it has grown exponentially, to its mogul-like status in the fashion industry today, with about 14.8 million registered online shoppers buying the wardrobes from the site.

And since Senior Marketing and PR Manager of ASOS Australia, Jo Shapland (originally a Kiwi) was over as a delegate for New Zealand Fashion Week, CP was lucky enough to catch up with her to check in on how the online retail business is going closer to home.

[photo credit: Fashion and Beauty]

Hi Jo. So tell us, how are you enjoying New Zealand Fashion Week so far?

Loving it. It's been a rad opportunity to see fresh New Zealand talent and meet some interesting, creative people. It's also lovely coming home for a week.

Yeah Auckland has really put it on for you. NZFW has stepped it up a notch too. Whose shows have wowed you?

Nom*d definitely set the right tone. Stolen Girlfriend's Club continued the drama at the speedway. And I thought Juliette Hogan rocked great white trainer action with her moody, amazing pieces.

Yes Nom*D was classic. What are your thoughts on our favourite local designers like Nom*D and Trelise?

They're masters that have been in the business and driving the industry forward for a long time now. I respect what they do.

Especially from those top designers, everything is looking a little dark and dramatic so far. What predictions do you have for New Zealand Fashion next season based on what you've seen thus far by way of vibes, staples, styles and inspirations?

I think we'll continue to see the structured, soft, mannish tailoring that we're quite known for. Lots of layers & sheers as well.

Seems to be the classic NZ style. What about Aussie brand Salasai, which showed on Tuesday, what were your thoughts on that show and how it compared to the local shows?

Salasai was cool and not a brand I was familiar with before the show. I loved the slight schoolroom influence. And all the awkward lengths. My standout favourite piece (of the week actually) was the net overlay skirt - the pockets were mega. I think each show is too individual to compare - they each have their own vibe that feels right for them.

Such an epic show. Have you got more to see? Whose shows are you most anticipating?

Another full day of shows finishing this evening with Kate Sylvester. Looking forward to the New Generation show and the surprises it might throw up.

Speaking of the New Gen Show, what are your thoughts on our up and coming designers and who are you hedging your bets on becoming then next big thing?

I've heard Georgia Alice is one to watch.

So true. She has been killing it. But still kind of ties in with our classic Kiwi style. What do you think is missing in the fashion industry in NZ at the moment, have we missed a market niche?

I wouldn't say anything is 'missing' regarding a style aesthetic - I just think the increasing question for small, young NZ designers will be what the role is of internationalisation for them and how they will navigate it.

Yeah, and the younguns definitely have a place in the fashion industry. You guys at ASOS have recognised that recently by kicking off a campaign to bring more university students to your site, tell us a little about that:

#thehundredproject is all about encouraging first-year uni students to leave uniformity behind and embrace their individual style by encouraging them to take 100 different selfies throughout their uni year. We also have 20 amazing student ambassadors building awareness and engagement of our brand on campus. It's been an incredible experience - we're learning a lot and hope to continue in this space on-going. No plans yet to roll out to NZ but maybe we'll consider it one day.

That'd be unreal. It would be nice to see some local designers on such a massive retail site too, since we are really only just starting to penetrate the global market with our local designers. Do you think we have a signature look and how can we best go global with New Zealand fashion?

We're constantly looking for freshness and a distinctive, compelling signature from every designer we put on site. With over 900 brands, you need to set yourself apart. The appeal of the brand also needs to resonate with our global customers as much as the local guy or girl. So, no, I don't think NZ has one signature look and that's a good thing. Each designer needs to ensure they're being brave, taking risks, carving out a niche all of their own and the rest should follow.

Published on September 02, 2014 by Diana Clarke


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