Fashion Week not just for the fashionistas

Fashion Week is usually a closed, industry-only event, but this year footwear designer Kathryn Wilson, 31, is putting the shoe on the other foot and opening up her show to the public free.

Wilson’s catwalk show will officially close New Zealand Fashion Week in Auckland on September 2. It is being held three weeks early because of the Rugby World Cup.

Three thousand people will have the chance to attend Wilson’s show.

The only catch is you have to be aged 18 or over because alcohol will be served; and queue, because tickets cannot be bought or reserved. Doors open at 7.30pm for the 9pm event.

The planned shoe spectacular follows the success of Wilson’s debut presentation at Fashion Week last year, which she said was a thank you to the industry that had helped her reach that milestone.

“This year I wanted to turn it around. The support I got from customers after last year’s show was amazing and I really want to acknowledge that,” Wilson said.

vFashionistas lucky enough to get their foot in the door will be privy to the unveiling of Wilson’s winter 2012 collection with live models on a raised catwalk and images beamed around the venue on large screens. They will also gain entry to the after-party.

Wilson began her career working in a shoe shop and trained in fashion design at Massey University in Wellington, where her interest in footwear dominated her studies.

In 2002 she was one of 10 New Zealanders to be awarded an AMP Scholarship of $5000 to launch her self-titled shoe range, which led to her being backed by designer Caroline Sills.

In the past 12 months she has doubled her turnover by launching a secondary line, Miss Wilson.

Wilson’s agent, Murray Bevan of Showroom 22, said it was the right time to open the Fashion Week doorsto the public.

“Fashion has become a lot more important to the everyday person. People are putting a lot more time and energy into how they dress,” he said.

“It’s the first time ever in New Zealand that a fashion show has been completely open to the public on this scale. It’s going to be massive.”

The show’s location will be revealed at the end of this month.

Fashion Week organisers are also pulling out all the stops to give the public a chance to be part of this year’s event with the opportunity to buy tickets to Designer Selection shows that will be held throughout the week.

There will also be a chance to win front row seats and be part of a television first at the World show, where the finalists of New Zealand’s Next Top Model will take to the catwalk in a live walkoff to find the winner.

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