Buying Panel: What You Should Buy This Summer According To The Experts

Make sure your new season purchases are savvy ones with advice from these four fashion industry experts

Bridget Veals, David Jones womenswear director. Photo / Supplied

How do you decide what to buy? The sheer volume of options available to the modern consumer is ever-growing, and while this is a blessing, it can make honing in on a final decision challenging.

READ: What Does An International Fashion Buyer Really Look For On The Runway?

It’s always helpful to get opinions from those in the know — especially when their jobs revolve around identifying trends and what people will want to buy seasons ahead.

Emma and Dan have an eye for upcoming trends. Photo / Supplied

Dan Gosling & Emma Cruickshank — Founders, Black Box Boutique
The co-founders of Public Library Showroom and Black Box Boutique have been stocking the latter with cult and covetable brands since 2008. Starting off with labels like Ellery, Chronicles of Never, Claude Maus and Opening Ceremony, the initial offering was conceptual and elevated.

Over the last 11 years, Black Box has gone through various iterations and levels of accessibility, settling back to a roster of brands more in keeping with the original considered philosophy with a new store on Jervois Rd, and a sole focus on womenswear.

Stocking of-the-moment international labels like Ciao Lucia, LOQ and Maryam Nassir Zadeh, Black Box is a one-stop-shop for cool-girl clothing and accessories. The store’s international brands are complemented with local labels like Wynn HamlynYu Mei and Beach Knickers.

What trends or pieces do you think are going to be big for the coming season?
- Languid slks, like those from Ciao Lucia.
- Pastels.
- Lots of colour.
- Looser-fit denim is getting more popular as well.
- Accessories are a big part of our business — sunglasses, footwear and bags always do well.

Ciao Lucia, a cult brand to look into for summer. Photo / @ciao__lucia

Who or what are some brands or makers you’ve got your eye on?
- We love what Ciao Lucia are doing.
- Maryam Nassir Zadeh and LOQ for a point of difference in footwear.
- We're looking forward to next season Paloma Wool arriving. It's an amazing range that is unique and fun, and all made in Spain.
- We are also are very excited for POMS to come in this season.

Can you pinpoint any specific shifts in people’s purchasing style over the last few seasons?
More fun pieces; people have been buying way more colour and experimental pieces. People are also investing in shoes, bags or jackets and paring them back with lower price-pointed pieces like plain singlets and denim.

We want pieces that will be in the wardrobe for more than one season — good quality brands and fabrics that can be worn multiple ways and occasions.

Black Box Boutique's flagship in Herne Bay offers cult local and international brands. Photo / Supplied

How has Black Box shifted its offering to match these trends?
Every buy is considered and budgeted, gone are the days of buying with no budget! We are trying to buy with our customer in mind but also trying to lead them into the future with more fashion-forward pieces.

Educating our customers to discover new brands through our store, and how to wear them is important for us, as is the story behind the brands as most of them have a great background. 

What are three things you think everyone should own for summer?
- Great eyewear. Poms and Mars do fantastic sunglasses.
- MNZ olympia wedges.
- Lacausa t-shirts. This is a great ethical basics brand creating perfect t-shirt fits.

What’s your advice for people wanting to stay ahead of the trend curve when it comes to making purchases?
Research and make considered choices, buying things you're likely to wear more than once. Ethically sourced product is and will be hugely important for everyone's purchasing going forward, not just for consumers but for our planet.

Wolf & Fox director Toss Grumley. Photo / Supplied

Toss Grumley — Director, Wolf & Fox Growth Business Advisors
As director of an advisory firm that specialises in growth-focused businesses, Toss Grumley is accustomed to knowing what consumers want, and how his clients can cater to this.

With a client list including many fashion and design brands that are at the top of their game, Toss has a breadth of experience in helping businesses across different sectors become more profitable.

How have you noticed people’s buying habits shift over the last couple of seasons?
Fast fashion has taken a little bit of a backseat and I'm noticing lots of people buying higher quality items that they like to know the provenance of. Consumers are happily spending higher amounts on New Zealand and European made items.

What do you predict is going to be big for the coming season?
Designers are bringing in interesting shapes and their own distinctive versions of classic garments. There will be a continuation of our typical minimalist style but with pops of colour and prints here and there for good measure.

More fitted silhouettes will be showing up with lots of detail built into the pattern and we’ll see less of the frills we’ve seen the last few seasons.

What’s your advice for people wanting to make intelligent purchasing decisions?
Buy the best that you can afford. Items should be high quality, timeless and staples that you can wear again and again over multiple seasons.

Who or what are some brands or makers you’ve got your eye on?
At the moment my top picks are:

Bags - Georgia Jay, you can't go past her minimalist but distinctive look and the fact it's all handmade in Auckland, the recent range for Moda Operandi was amazing.

Clothing - Paris Georgia for sure, no one is showing up better for New Zealand at the moment on an international stage.

Jewellery - Jasmin Sparrow, it's such beautiful jewellery and it just keeps getting better every season.

The womenswear section of the new David Jones store in Westfield, Newmarket. Photo / Snapper Online

Bridget Veals — General Manager of Womenswear & Accessories, David Jones
As director of womenswear for David Jones both in Australia and New Zealand, Bridget has a savvy eye when it comes to predicting what the store's vast number of customers will want to buy. 

Constantly reconfiguring its offering of both established and up-and-coming designers ensures David Jones has remained a premium destination for discerning shoppers.

With two stores on our shores now, Bridget is focused on supporting New Zealand designers through representation on the shop floor as well as introducing long-awaited internationals to the market. 

What are you noticing David Jones customers are drawn to at the moment?
Summer is shaping up to be very colourful and feminine! Barely-there sandals, soft silhouettes and bias cuts are right across the collections.

What trends or pieces do you predict will be big for the coming season?
Next season is seeing lots of extended shoulder silhouettes across womenswear ranges.

Biker boots are making a comeback and we’re seeing a huge moment for leather alternatives across clothing and accessories: Nanushka, MIMCO, Sans Beast and more.

Who or what are some brands or makers you’ve got your eye on?
Nanushka is one label that we are seeing an incredible response from both in New Zealand and Australia. We’re really excited to have introduced some incredible brands to Newmarket this season including MSGM, Carla Zampatti, Kenzo, Mansur Gavriel, ALC and Ulla Johnson.

Opening in Wellington in 2016 has allowed us to recognize the incredible level of brand loyalty that our NZ customers have for local brands. As a result we’re really focused on supporting our Kiwi designers, incorporating new arrivals Harris Tapper and Wynn Hamlyn into our Newmarket offer with more to come.

Can you pinpoint any specific shifts in people’s purchasing style over the last few seasons?
Informed customers who have a growing awareness of a garment’s sustainability, strong brand narratives, and ethical manufacturing processes are all attributes of brands we see going from strength to strength at David Jones. Brand presence on social media has enabled us to better tell our brands’ stories and educate the consumer.

And how has David Jones shifted its offering to match these trends?
We buy collections that we believe resonate with the NZ consumer, bringing brands into our stable that align with the local customer’s aesthetic. David Jones is always to working on evolving the brand offer and store design, enabling us to remain agile to what our customers are wanting.

What’s your advice for people wanting to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to making purchases?
My best advice would be build a wardrobe around well-cut basics to inject trends into each season; be it colour, texture or an updated take on a classic.

And anything you’re on the lookout for yourself personally?
A Bottega Veneta Pouch.

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