Since 1996, Australian Fashion Week has launched emerging designers and helped established designers appeal to the industry. However since the birth of Australian Fashion Week, based in Sydney, other fashion weeks and festivals have been popping up all over Australia and this year, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia (MBFWA) felt the heat.
MBFWA ran from April 30 till May 5 and saw the likes of designers such as Bec & Bridge, Johanna Johnson, Ksubi and Roopa Pemmaraju present their spring/summer collections. But two weeks out from the event, established designers Josh Goot and Dion Lee pulled out of MBFWA.
Josh Goot issued a press release, in which he stated:
“This is the right decision for the Josh Goot brand, business and team. We’ve had an amazing response to Spring Summer 2012, and I think it’s important that we consolidate our position, rather than rush into a new collection to show at MBFWA. The entire studio and I want to focus on the Resort collection without the distraction of a show.
“I believe strongly in Australian Fashion Week as an important initiative that strengthens our domestic fashion story. I hope to participate in the event in the years to come.”
Similarly Dion Lee issued a press release earlier than Mr Goot, stating:
“Having recently executed a highly successful presentation at London Fashion Week in February and with intentions to show at London Fashion Week in September, the brand has decided to withdraw from the event in order to focus on the core activities of the business.”
Another designer who chose not to show at MBFWA this year was Nicola Finetti. He says that while he believes Fashion Week Australia has “helped to put Australian fashion on the map,” he needed to focus on the business end of his label.
“I have chosen not to show this year as I need to focus [on] my business and focus…[on] my next collection.”
Acting fashion editor at The Sunday Telegraph, Glynis Traill-Nash, believes that MBFWA is still an important event for designers to take part in, and in the video below, states that LMFF and MBFWA are two very different events.
However it’s not just LMFF that is luring designers away from MBFWA. Perth, Darwin and Adelaide each hold their own fashion events that draw in both local and international designers.
Perth Fashion Week, held in April, saw international designer Furne One bring his Amato Haute Couture label to Australia. Furne One has dressed celebrities such as Lady Gaga and Katy Perry and was invited by the event organisers to take part in Perth Fashion Week.
“I was invited by Perth Fashion Week to join this year since I am one of the designers who are representing for World Fashion Week, representing the United Arab Emirates,” says Furne One.
He states that the idea of showing at Fashion Week Australia has also crossed his mind.
“…I never got the chance to, and now since I was invited [to Perth Fashion Week], why not? This is my opportunity to show Australia about Amato Couture.”
“For Sydney Fashion Week we showed in 2008 and we brought Kim Kardashian over which was fabulous and she was our ambassador for a whole week and she was absolutely gorgeous…” says Ms Tarvydas.
She believes that showing at fashion weeks is all about gaining exposure for the label and the exposure you gain depends on where in Australia you are showing your collection.
“Any exposure helps the brand. I think in Perth, the Perth Fashion Week would help the Perth market and it certainly did. Perth Fashion Festival helps the Perth market and it certainly always has.
“Sydney Fashion Week I think, because we did have Kim Karadashian, we do have a brand that attracts attention. We had national coverage as well as press coverage and we were very happy with that because we did spend quite a bit on it.”
Adelaide Fashion Festival Coordinator, Cristine Tridente believes that Adelaide’s small fashion industry calls for a focus on emerging designers and offers these designers the chance to show their collections at the festival.
“It really provides a platform for emerging designers by showcasing them in the South Australian designers fashion showcase. So it’s a competition in which they have to submit an application in the lead up to the festival and eight designers are chosen to show case on the night and we award the best emerging designer award.
“In conjunction with that we do showcase all South Australian designers whether its in that show or in another show and I think it really helps them to obviously show their new collections to the public and things like that.“
Ms Tridente believes that Adelaide Fashion Festival is a stepping-stone for emerging designers, giving them the opportunity to be recognised by the industry and work with established designers.
“It’s the only thing that’s kind of offered South Australia-wide to help emerging designers and to support them and I think it’s great because the public gets to see them and they get a lot of media around them and things like that.
“And to win the award, we offer prizes, I mean last year Alexandra Ireland who won for her label Necia, she got to go and do an internship with Gwendolynne in Melbourne. It really does open new doors I think.”
Darwin Fashion Week is another event that focuses on helping emerging designers get noticed and the event’s director, Erin Byrd, says it’s the first event of its kind in Darwin.
“It gives [designers] a launch pad to showcase their collections, there’s never really been anything like that in Darwin before.
“Just being that it’s its first year and because we’re trying to get it to where we want it to be we’ve allowed the designers to not pay an entry fee so we’re providing everything from the venue right down to the hair and makeup and models and you know getting the media attention. So just helping them get that support behind them.”
Ms Byrd also states that established labels Kooey and Limedrop will be taking part in the festival this year, which launches June 7 and takes place over three days. However she states that the inclusion of these labels is simply to give the event credibility, with the focus being on the emerging designers.
Ms Byrd does however have plans to steer Darwin Fashion Week in the footsteps of MBFWA.
“I definitely want to aspire for it to become as big as that. I don’t know that it ever would be but I think getting a major sponsor or supporter like L’Oreal or, you know, Mercedes or someone like that would be great for it to happen that way.
“Even though it’s in its first year as well, that’s what we’re pushing the calibre of even its first year to be. You know getting some really good sponsors and getting really good models and showcasing designs and you know garments that are of a really high standard.”