There are plenty of studies on country-of-origin research, but New Zealand is kind of an enigma, even after living here for nearly 30 years. Today, I checked the binding for the next issue of Lucire’s New Zealand edition, and found myself thinking that I should put the nation’s name in there.
For the magazine’s print history, I had resisted this move. I had been advised to put ‘New Zealand edition’ because no one, I was told, knew that Lucire was from that country. I thought that worked against what the magazine stood for: the world’s ﬁrst truly global fashion magazine, where the stories are shared across all editions (never mind I only had the one print one back then).
My rationale was also historic. Vogue, for example, does not always put the country inside the capital O. Certainly the original edition does not call itself American Vogue, even if some of the public does—that would be like saying ‘French champagne’. Harper’s Bazaar is the same. Ditto Elle. So, in this world, why should the lead edition of Lucire be called Lucire New Zealand?
However, we have a problem. Our low opinion of ourselves. The disbelief that, for example, I had the print media licked when it came to online. In print, how could any New Zealander be capable of leading? Ha!
Despite the America’s Cup successes and The Lord of the Rings, for the ﬁrst year of the magazine’s print existence in New Zealand, a lot of people thought I had licensed a foreign title. Or that the magazine is foreign. Because I stood on fresh ground that no one had trodden on before, and no one had peed on it. It was too hard to be believed.
Never mind that with each issue we ran posters shouting our country of origin: just last month a New Zealander answered our country of origin question on our subscription form with ‘Spain’.
We have a higher opinion of Spaniards than of ourselves.
I am just a regular Joe. I’m not a Bill Gates-type ﬁgure with inherited money and software patents. So today, I relented a little. The words ‘New Zealand’ appear on the spine of Lucire’s next issue, if the editor-in-chief agrees. We might as well pretend to be a second-tier nation if no one believes we can be a ﬁrst-tier one.
What gets me is how many foreign companies do manage to pretend to be Kiwi just by “being average”, including Fashion Quarterly (not Jeanne Beker’s one), which might have been started by a New Zealander, but is ultimately owned by the late Kerry Packer’s family in Australia. And the usual: Just Juice, Eta, Grifﬁn’s—all French. Yet a lot of the Kiwis I know are among the brightest people in the world. Also the most decent, by a country mile. Being ﬁrst-tier should be normal. Do I just hang around a different crowd?
Del.icio.us tags: country of origin | Lucire | New Zealand | fashion magazines | tall poppy syndrome Posted by Jack Yan, 11:38
Damn right first tier should be normal. It's frustrating to sing the praises of Aotearoa overseas, only to come home to luke warm enthusiasm for our country's identity.
Nice blog Jack!
Too right, Dan. Every time I go offshore I say I’m a New Zealander and people love it. And we don’t seem to love it as much.Post a Comment
BTW, have you seen a census email going around, encouraging people to write ‘Other’ and entering ‘New Zealander’? Apparently there is no such option, even though, according to this email, it even exists in Australia!
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