Located in an out-of-season timezone, with a population less than most other nations’ statistical margin of error, it’s a wonder the factories of China sell New Zealand any clothes at all. Lacking the substantial buying power of big countries, Kiwi retail chains are always last in the queue, squabbling over scraps of overpriced, end of the line, monochrome fashion that simply screams ‘THREE YEARS AGO!’.
So the only alternative, for fashion conscious Kiwi consumers, is to buy local, high-end brands such as World or Karen Walker, where even a simple coat or blouse from one of these stores can easily set you back four figures. Which means that, to look good (or even to look just ‘average’) in New Zealand, you have to pretty much mortgage something. Preferably an organ. And a good one at that (you know who you are…spleen).
Fortunately (or perhaps because of..?) 98% of New Zealanders are quite comfortable hitting the town on a Friday night in bare feet and board shorts. Maybe Jandals for a special occasion, like a wedding. However, the Kiwi love affair with ‘laid back’ only serves to reduce both the already low order volumes, as well as the level of risk on new trends, that clothing chains are prepared to take each season.
The situation is nso bad, that it is not uncommon for New Zealand women, returning home to the sunny Kiwi lifestyle after many years holed up in London, to experience a condition known as Top Shock, a form of cold turkey brought on by the sudden and brutal dislocation from UK High Street chains such as Top Shop, H&M & American Apparel. Common symptoms include night terrors, fever and shaking, random outbursts of tearfulness, and a refusal to leave the house.
As if to add salt to an open wound, TVNZ insists on running repeats of popular BBC shows such as ‘How to Look Good Naked’ and ‘What Not Too Wear’, which are full of advice for young women on how to dress like celebs, on a checkout girl’s budget, by shopping smart at any number of British department stores. None of which is even remotely useful in New Zealand.
Furthermore, the shows feature flattering, panoramic shots of said department stores, which can unexpectedly inflame a latent and presumed remissive case of Top Shock.
Which can really ruin a Friday night.