A NEW ZEALAND designer has told locals in the fashion industry to ensure their products would be desired by customers if their business was to thrive.
Renowned Kiwi designer and businesswoman Annah Stretton made the comment at the opening of the Fiji Fashion Week Forum in Suva yesterday.
No stranger to the fashion industry, Ms Stretton has established herself in the trade for over 20 years. But, surprisingly enough, she had studied to be an accountant and holds an honorary Master in Arts.
Based in Waikato, Ms Stretton emerged from a background of wholesale mainstream garments to becoming one of the big names in New Zealand fashion.
With clients all over the world, including the United Kingdom, Australia, Ireland and Europe, she bases her success on eight principles; passion, focus, discipline, hard work, networking, selling things people want to buy and persistence.
"When you design or make something you need to do so knowing that people will want to buy them, there has to be a need out there. That has helped me a lot in my career," she said.
"One needs to make something of value to make it a success. It is not just thinking that people will want to purchase your products but knowing that there is a market out there for it.
"People see my success and say that I'm lucky. I'm not lucky, it's taken a lot of hard work to get here. I push myself, I try hard. I fall often and I fall hard but I pick myself up and I'm OK.
"In the fashion industry or any type of business, you are either failing or succeeding but I've learnt that it's when I'm failing that I learn the most."
Ms Stretton says after 20 years in the fashion industry she is still passionate about what she does and advises people to do something they enjoy doing.
She told fashion enthusiasts who attended the forum to keep tabs of the changing times, highlight the needs of designers and to network socially so their business could grow.
Ms Stretton's winter collection will be paraded on the catwalk tomorrow night in the Established Designers category.
The Fiji Fashion Week opens at the Vodafone Arena at 7:30pm.