Looking Back ..... to Move Forward

Earlier this month, Fashion Quarterly magazine was closed along with many others following the shuttering of Bauer Media's New Zealand operation. This ended a four-decade long history of fashion publishing in New Zealand.
Bridget Hope takes a trip down memory lane to the very beginnings of New Zealand's first ever fashion title.


Exactly 40 years ago, Fashion Quarterly  was born in the upstairs loft of our family garage in Christchurch. My industrious parents, Don Hope and Paula Ryan, then owners of a local modelling agency, had the idea to catalogue, showcase and bind seasonal fashion images into one book for New Zealand women around the country.

The first issues called, Fashion Collections,  saw a series of free publications distributed by hand to 400,000 letterboxes in New Zealand's main centres. Essentially a book of fashion advertising, it gave women a visual platform to see the clothes available for purchase in their local fashion boutiques.

As the free-circular format gained popularity, the decision was made to turn it into a paid fashion-glossy with editorial content sold on news-stands and in bookstores.

In 1986, Fashion Quarterly, New Zealand’s first news-stand fashion magazine was born.

Pictured from left: FQ Originals - Editor Paula Ryan, Publisher Don Hope, Fashion Editor, (Dame) Pieter Stewart, Fashion Writer, Peg Johnston.


Paula Ryan

Back then, and even today, my parents were always extremely hard working. Anyone who has ever been successful in their professional life knows that success comes from sheer hard work and determination. My parents were living proof of this.

My mother, Paula (pictured above), would work late into the night in the little loft above our garage, creating the editorial pages herself.

My father, Don (an ad-agency man) would spend his days selling the advertising to the various fashion boutiques, beauty companies and fashion manufacturers looking to advertise their product.

Pat and Margaret Quinn of Quinn’s Fashions in Merivale,  pioneers in New Zealand fashion retail, were among the very first advertisers to put their hands up to participate in the magazine.

Fashion Quarterly  went on to become the voice of New Zealand fashion for many years to come.

Below: An early Editor's Letter


Below: Chief Luggage Handler, Don Hope, guards the bags during an early fashion shoot in Venice.

Below: Celebrating 10 Year of Fashion Quarterly 

Don ope and Paula Ryan

Fashion Quarterly


Below: Friends in Fashion - 15 years of FQ in 1995. Fashion Designer Barbara Lee, Fashion Editor Patria Mace, Editor Paula Ryan, Publisher Don Hope, William Lee and Peter Stewart celebrating 15 Years OF Fashion Quarterly.

Below: Rachel Hunter modelled her first fashion shoots in Fashion Quarterly before going on to become a top international supermodel.

Below: Kirstine Britten was a regular Fashion Quarterly model in the early years too.

Ahead of it's time: FQ fashion shoots in 1986; transporting New Zealand fashion to the magical backdrop of Venice.

For many women around New Zealand, Fashion Quarterly was the source of fashion news and trends in the Eighties, Nineties and decades that followed.

Before the internet, before social media or digital marketing – women would anticipate its release to learn about the upcoming fashion trends and forecasts on what to wear.

It also played a huge part in the development of many fashion careers. New Zealand's leading fashion photographers, models and fashion journalists work would grace the pages of Fashion Quarterly in the decades that followed.

Below: The Originals - Fashion Quarterly Photographers; Euan Sarginson, Desmond Williams and Tony Drayton - pictured with Paula.

FQ staffers in the Nineties. Pictured from left: Fashion Editor: Katarina Williams, Editor Paula Ryan, Art Director Monique Lovering and Fashion Writer, Peg Johnston.

Below: At the 30 Year Mark - Fashion Quarterly Editor's up until 2010. From Left: Leonie Barlow (2000-2007), now of The Style Insider, Christina Sayers Wickstead (1996-2000), Paula Ryan (1980 - 1996), Fiona Hawtin (From 2008), Jane Binsley (2006), Melissa Williams King (2007 - 2008).

Fashion Quarterly Editors Letters

Fashion Quarterly

Above: Spring 2010; FQ 30th Anniversary cover. Now owned by ACP Magazines and later Bauer Media

In recent times, with the rise of digital marketing and social media overshadowing print, I feel a sense of loss that we will no longer see the love and energy poured into the pages of our local fashion glossies. Designed to provide audiences with a vehicle for intense visual escapism – beyond the fleetingness of today's social media posts.

In a world that is more uncertain than ever – it is the fantastical pages of a high fashion magazine that transport us visually to faraway places of magic and wonder. A state of mind we can only crave to have, in times like these - here and now.  


Pictured below: Fashion Quarterly Winter 2020 cover. Poised to celebrate 40 years in Winter 2020, never to be released.
Source: Fashion Quarterly Instagram.



Photography: Stephen Tiley
Fashion Quarterly Instagram


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I remember the very first publication; we didn’t have anything like it in New Zealand at the time. My parents, Wayne & Marlene Wright, are in one of the photos featured above. I was also Peg Johnston’s Private Secretary for several years. Many memories of our family being featured in the social pages (including my engagement at Swing under the Stars). :)

— Sonya Wright

A tragedy that this much loved magazine has gone. It was my bible for years from the first copy. Thankyou to Paula and Don for the hard work you put in from the beginning.
Paula is still an inspiration to all women. Such a shame. Hopefully someone will pick it up to continue.
Cheers for an amazing magazine.

— Helen Fritchley

I remember from the very beginning absolutely having to buy the Fashion Quarterly every time it came out .
Just loved all the fashion data first off the block and also the models and writings of it all.
Gorgeous Paula I am in awe of her totally.
And what she and many in the early days accompliced.
I am devastated that it has to go.
such a shame that 40 years couldn’t be celebrated.
Cheers to a great.magazine.

— Carolyn Tordoff

Thanks for writing this – I spoke to Don and said if no one else did, that I’d like to write something to honour the founders and to acknowledge the legacy of the magazine and all those great writers, stylists, photographers and models who created work for its pages.
A tragedy that the title died in such a sudden way and there was no opportunity to celebrate its legacy.
Thanks to Paula and Don and the founding team for setting 40 years of fashion history in motion.

— Paul Blomfield

Loved this magazine my favourite

— Adrienne Francis