Coronavirus: NZ fashion industry's plea to Kiwis to buy local during lockdown

New Zealand clothing retailers are feeling the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown with stores closed and online orders unable to be delivered.

But our fashion industry is also competing with overseas retailers who are still operating and shipping their product to Kiwi shoppers.

New Zealand's fashion industry is packed with design heavyweights, but the four-week lockdown has taken away their punch.

Not only are stores closed, delivering online shopping to customers isn't an option either.

"We're still getting orders coming through, but obviously we're respecting the lockdown and the inability to ship the items," says NOM*d founder and creative director Margarita Robertson.

But the same rules don't apply to overseas retailers whose warehouses remain open.

"That was a little bit of a shock to find that certainly Australian businesses were still able to ship into New Zealand but we weren't able to ship to our local customers," Stolen Girlfriends Club creative director Marc Moore told Newshub.

"Wasn't sort of a level playing field as far as I was concerned."

Both Robertson and Moore say they fully support the country's lockdown.

But the Prime Minister has acknowledged this 'loophole' is causing a problem for Kiwi-based retailers - urging shoppers to keep the greater aim of the lockdown in mind.

"There's a lot of NZ businesses right now who are playing by the rules, who are not trading so we can prioritise deliveries for our most vulnerable and those in need, and I would ask you to think about that as well," she says.

The Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment is looking into this issue but says it expects New Zealanders to act responsibly when considering buying from overseas retailers during lockdown because it will impact the flow of essential goods.

With the fashion industry likely to be hit hard Kiwi designers are urging New Zealanders to buy local.

"What would be really amazing is for people to be respecting New Zealand companies," Robertson says.

"Please if there's something you've been coveting from a New Zealand brand or business for a while, now is the time to buy it," Moore adds.

Even if shoppers have to wait until the lockdown lifts to get their hands on it.