Melbourne or Sydney, which one is actually Australia Fashion Week?

While I haven’t personally yet had a chance to attend Sydney’s fashion week – shout out to anyone who can get me an invitation! – I have, sat through the recent Melbourne version … and honestly wasn’t that impressed

Melbourne’s ‘fashion festival’ is more about marketing the city as a destination, like a food festival or the Spring Carnival. 

Sydney, on the other hand, appears to function more like a traditional fashion week; there are single-brand standalone shows, multiple shows per day, and more interesting and exciting off-site shows. Sydney is about fashion; Melbourne is for retailers. 

However, according to most reports and reviews, this year’s Sydney Fashion Week wasn’t all that exciting. A number of bigger name designers didn’t show – Dion Lee, Kym Ellery, Nicky Zimmermann, Romance Was Born, and Camilla and Marc were all missing – which while giving space to smaller brands, did mean a touch less glam on the runways. 

Best of the shows? Double Rainbouu, Christopher Esber, Lee Mathews, and Bassike were all standouts, particularly Double Rainbouu, which moved from Hawaiian shirts to a full range of ready-to-wear in a presentation at the coolest venue of the week, Sydney’s Chinese Garden of Friendship.

Despite, or perhaps because of, the national election being held on the same weekend, there was not a lot of politics or strong statements on the runways … It was mostly about pretty dresses for middle class women with cute swimwear and casual wear thrown in for a full Resort 2020 wardrobe. 

Likewise, there was little said or done that related to the current desperate issue of sustainability in fashion; while at least Melbourne held the Australian Fashion Summit which did feature at least mention of the issue. 

The biggest question, however, is why are there two different fashion weeks? Actually there are also fashion weeks for Perth and Adelaide (update: Adelaide Fashion Week has just been cancelled) as well, and various others irregularly held around the country. 

We don’t need more than one; we just need an Australian Fashion Week. It will save money, save on environmental costs and focus the talent all in one place.   

This article was first published in the iFab newsletter.

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