New Zealand Fashion Week designers lament postponement over COVID-19 level 4 lockdown

Local designers have expressed intense disappointment at missing out on showing their collections at New Zealand Fashion Week 2021, which has been cancelled just one week before it was set to begin. 

The entire country was plunged back into a snap alert level 4 lockdown on Tuesday following Aotearoa's first cases of COVID-19 found in the community in months. 

It meant the axing of events around the country, including New Zealand Fashion Week (NZFW) which was set to make its return on Monday August 23 after being cancelled last year amid the first phase of the pandemic.

With less than a week to go, organisers, designers and workers were left scrambling at the announcement. 

Dame Pieter Stewart, director and founder of NZFW said it was "disappointing" for everyone including "buyers, production teams, models, partners and all New Zealanders".

"Of course, health and safety must come first, and we respect the decision made by our Government," she said.

"The reality is, we were always alert to the likelihood of another lockdown and are now actively working through the options of hosting this iconic event as soon as possible. 

"We will be in a position to share further details once we have made a decision."

Stolen Girlfriends Club founder Marc Moore took to Instagram to say he was "absolutely gutted". 

"COVID-19 you are a cruel mistress, oh how you toy with us. Release us from your grasp," he wrote, adding the team had been "working tirelessly behind the scenes". 

"I was so excited to show you all what we had been working on - it's looking so, so amazing! But as they say, God's delays are not God's denials," he wrote 

"We are committed to doing this show later in the year at a safer time when we can really celebrate together. I hope everyone is doing ok and we can all regroup soon!

"Stay safe. Keep your distance. Wear a mask. Wash your hands!" 

His sentiment was echoed by fellow designer Caitlin Crisp, who has been one of the country's fashion favourites since debuting at NZFW back in 2018. 

"And just like that life is turned on its head again," she wrote on Instagram. 

"I've set myself up to keep sewing away in hopes that I still get to bring my fairy-tale show to life. I'm still feeling disappointed and a bit lost, I hate the unknown but will do everything in my power to keep CC going."

She also had a message of safety for fans. 

"I know COVID-19 is a hot topic and everyone has their opinions but let's just do everything we can to get out of level 4 as soon as we can! 

"For me personally that means strictly staying in my wee bubble of two and making the most of this time together."

Designer Jakob Carter says he was "frustrated beyond belief" not to debut his second collection. 

"It's been a long couple of nights making calls, trying to rearrange contractors and reshuffling everything. We've only been told that it has been postponed and obviously they don't have a new date in mind, so it's a bit of a wait and see game at the moment," he said. 

"I've been looking forward to showcasing my latest collection, and it's been a long road to get here, especially after last year's cancellation. But at the end of the day, everyone's health and safety must come first so we will just have to see how the next few days play out."