New Zealand Fashion Museum to Launch

A fashion museum of no fixed abode is the brainchild of fashion innovator Doris de Pont.

After 25 years as a designer, de Pont has traded setting the trends for recording those that have shaped New Zealand’s unique take on expressing our identity through what we wear and how we wear it.

Passionate about the history of this country’s fashion, de Pont saw a gap with no one agency specifically dedicated to recording fashion’s contribution to our culture. Last year she set up the New Zealand Fashion Museum Charitable Trust and she is currently finalising the museum’s first showing, Looking Terrific – the Story of El Jay.  

“There is this perception that fashion in New Zealand had no merit before the late 1990s but this is completely untrue,” de Pont says.

“Look at the photos of our past and you will see amazingly dressed men and women. I believe passionately that our unique fashion story must be revealed and preserved.

“In collecting for this first show for the fashion museum some incredible clothes and stories have come out of the closets of many New Zealanders. It has heartened me to hear the great memories associated with many of the outfits that will be displayed. There is a real emotional attachment to beautifully tailored clothes that we have worn as life-shaping decisions were made, or events occurred.”

It wouldn’t be about fashion if it wasn’t unconventional and de Pont has created a museum without bricks and mortar, unconstrained by the responsibility of holding and preserving collections. It’s an idea backed by other fashion leaders including designer Karen Walker and New Zealand Fashion Week founder Pieter Stewart.

De Pont will pull together exhibitions around themes and ideas that are relevant to today and move them to suitable venues and centres around New Zealand to put them on display, giving accessibility to the concept of understanding and enjoying our fashion history.

“All exhibitions will be free to the public and being responsive, relevant and accessible to all New Zealanders are important concepts to the fashion museum,” de Pont says.

Once an exhibition has completed its run it will be recorded for posterity on the fashion museum’s and the exhibits will be returned to the homes that love them. The website, will be developed as funds are raised for the project.

“I think this moveable museum with no permanent home is the first of its kind anywhere,” de Pont says. “Because it is very much about sharing fashion experiences anyone can be part of it.  The museum’s website has details on how people can stay informed and get involved.”

More about the New Zealand Fashion Museum Charitable Trust

The New Zealand Fashion Museum Charitable Trust has been established and incorporated. It will be funded by public patronage.  In addition to a range of patronage levels, the Trust is seeking up to 200 Foundation Fans. To become a Foundation Fan requires a one off donation of $500. Foundation Fans will be listed on the Museum website and will receive invitations to the Fashion Museum events.

For those interested in making a contribution should go to to register their interest or contact Doris de Pont by email or telephone 021 680 860.

Trustees have been selected for their specialised knowledge and include:
Doris de Pont, former fashion designer and anthropologist, from Auckland
Margo Barton, a leading fashion educator from Dunedin
Dr Sandy Callister, a brand and communications strategist from Wellington
Dianne Ludwig, a business advisor from Auckland
Lisa Coleman, in information technology expert from Auckland
Julia Cahill, a lawyer from Auckland

One Response to “New Zealand Fashion Museum to Launch”
  1. Judy Wong says:

    It is about time!!! NZ has a rich culture, it should tell the world about it’s fashion culture too. All people hear about NZ is it’s outdoor activities, and the fashion scene seems to reflect that as I record on my previous visits the NZ. I very much look forward to visiting the exhibition. Best of Luck.

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