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Fashion boot camp

Two Kiwi designers are showing our up-and-comers the ropes
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Kellie Chapman preparing for the Verge Breakthrough show at this year’s New Zealand Fashion Week

A successful fashion career takes a lot more than bitching and cocktail parties. After sponsoring the Air New Zealand Fashion Week New Generation show, industry veterans Neil Brabant and Ian Webster of Verge were concerned that great talent was a-wasting because novice designers don’t have the skills or money to get their clothes from runway to in-store racks.

So Verge Breakthrough was born. Webster and Brabant vet prospective designers for their business readiness. A couple of months before showtime, the designers are herded into a one-day boot camp to learn industry essentials. “Design schools don’t teach them how to run a business,” says Webster. This year, Verge Breakthrough comes with an even bigger sweetener: the best designer, judged by an audience of editors, stylists and buyers, wins a cool $10,000 to kick-start a new fashion venture. It’s a reminder that business savvy is always in style.