FOR an industry that generates $8 billion in sales a year, the Australian fashion world still has to watch the way it spends its bucks.
With the pace of how quickly fashion chains can turn around new styles, the Aussie clothing industry needs to keep up with the rest of the fashion world. Hence, this year, Australian Fashion Week is taking a new path.
Designers — all 55 of them of them — will focus on clothes that Australia is reallygood at: designing “resort” wear.
Fashion week showcases what we will be wearing next season. They are preview shows more so than shows featuring clothes you can buy straight away.
The global fashion industry is already wrestling with a see-now-and-buy-now mentality. This current wave of thinking is prompting major designers like Burberry and Tom Ford to make some of their runway collections available to buy straight off the catwalk, instead of waiting six months until they make it into stores.
So yes. Cool cossies, holiday clothes, relaxed pieces and summer wardrobe essentials will be the stars this year, as fashion week organisers hope to entice international buyers who, in May, are in the buying cycle that orders ‘resort’ collections from around the world.
“May marks the beginning of the global sales window for these lucrative retail collections,” said Emily Weight, Head of Fashion, IMG Fashion Events & Properties, Asia Pacific.
“The new timing and resort offering reflects our work with the industry to maintain global relevance for the region’s leading fashion event. The move presents an exciting opportunity for Australian designers and global media and buyers alike.”
Contrary to doom and gloom and reports of designers ‘pulling out’ of fashion week, inclusion is always up to the discretion of individual designers. Some years they do it. Other years they choose to use that money elsewhere in their marketing spend.
More than 55 designers were announced at Sydney’s Quay Restaurant Wednesday night and will show from Sunday, May 15 through to Friday, May 20.
Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia will focus exclusively on resort collections and in-line with the international retail calendar. Australian design dynamo Dion Lee will return to the schedule presenting his resort collection in Sydney alongside Bianca Spender, Ginger & Smart, Yeojin Bae and celebrity-designer favourite Rebecca Vallance, who will debut her first collection with Australia Fashion Week.
Additionally, ‘marquee’ fashion brands like alice mcCALL, Camilla and Swarovski — while not choosing to do $100,000 catwalk spectaculars — will host events that will be included as part of the official schedule.
Internationally acclaimed designer Toni Maticevski has the position of ‘opening’ this year’s fashion week on Sunday, May 15, with a roll call of other collections coming from Aje, Akira, Anna Quan, Aqua Blu, Bec & Bridge, Bondi Bather, By Johnny, Christopher Esber and Cristahlea.
There will be a real spotlight on swim and activewear, the two categories having become an increasingly important global niche market for Australian designers.
Sydney Harbour, the Opera House and Bondi Beach will provide the perfect inspiration for brands such as We Are Handsome, P. E. Nation, Ten Pieces and Duskii.
As well, fashion-watchers, editors and bloggers will see shows from Daniel Avakian, Discount Universe, Emma Mulholland, Georgia Alice, Holystone, House of Cannon, Jason Hewitt, Jennifer Kate, Kaliver, Karla Špetić, Macgraw, Manning Cartell, Misha Collection, Monster Alphabets, Palm Swimwear, P. Jamé, Steven Khalil, Third Form, We Are Kindred and Zhivago.
“We’ve taken a strategic decision to showcase ‘resort’ collections after speaking to the industry about seizing a greater opportunity on the international calendar,” said NSW Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events, Stuart Ayres.
“With the world’s most influential buyers and media travelling to Sydney for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia Sydney, this will be a great moment for trade to visit NSW.
“As a global city of creativity and innovation it’s appropriate the world’s fashion industry turn its
attention to Sydney this May as MBFWA showcases the NSW fashion industry and our harbour city to audiences worldwide.”
On the final day of fashion week, the best emerging talent from both Australia and overseas will feature from fashion graduates from Sydney TAFE, Fashion Design Studio, the Raffles International Showcase and in the St. George NextGen show.
A series of thought leadership industry seminars will also be running daily while consumers will be able to gain access to fashion week via the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Weekend Edition. That will run over May 20-21 and will provide ticketholders the opportunity to sit front row and experience the runway first hand; taking in all the action of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia itself at Carriageworks in Sydney.