In Australia, fashion week has a new name.
IMG has today announced buy-now-pay-later company, Afterpay, as the new title sponsor of Australian Fashion Week. The inaugural Afterpay Australian Fashion Week is set for next year, scheduled to run across May 31 until June 4 2021. Carriageworks will remain the home of Fashion Week Australia and will play host to the Resort shows across the week.
2020 has been a challenge - there's no other way to put it. Our fashion industry in particular has suffered as a consequence of the coronavirus pandemic. But this new partnership looks to dawn a new era in the world of Australian fashion.
Afterpay, together with IMG, will pave the way for a more democratic and accessible future for our fashion industry. In 2021, designer participation fees will be waived and designers will now be invited to show on the official AAFW schedule. Likewise, industry delegates, which includes of global media and stockists, will also have their AAFW attendance fees waived in 2021.
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The future of fashion in Australia
Since the onset of COVID-19 and the ensuing impacts on our creative industries, we have pondered many times what the future of fashion will look like. The fashion industry cannot continue as the insular place it once was - the pandemic has shown us that. And now, we're beginning to see what our new world will look like.
We've seen some of the biggest designers in the world reject the traditional fashion calendar. We've seen the consumers calling out for sustainable brands. We've seen the major fashion houses live stream previously intimate events for the whole world to see.
Now, Afterpay will open the doors here in Australia too, inviting new voices into the conversation.
Australian Fashion Week is the pinnacle event on our fashion calendar and provides Australian designers with a global platform to connect with the world. The 2021 event will include new tech, digital initiatives and fresh formats. Plus, consumers will be able to experience selected parts of fashion week too through a new activation called Afterpay Australian Fashion Week: The Experience.
It's an exciting new age for Australian fashion, one which will be underpinned by a commitment to accessibility, diversity and inclusion and sustainability.
"Australian fashion brands, without a doubt made Afterpay what it is today. They they invested in us from the start. This is just it, there was no hesitation on our side when the opportunity presented itself.
"The opportunity of being the title sponsor of Australian Fashion Week doesn't come around often. And the synergetic fit between Afterpay and IMG was just so obvious to both of us. It's absolutely investing in the more difficult times and the good times," said Nick Molnar Co-Founder of Afterpay said in an exclusive interview with RUSSH.
When asked about the future of fashion for Australian designers Molnar shares his wish to help Australian extend their international reach.
"We have we have such strong reach, both locally, but also abroad, and Australian fashion brands are having a huge moment, internationally. How we can take more local talent offshore? We work with one in three Australian millennials, and 10% of all millennials have used our service now in the US. It's an amazing platform for first time fashion brands to leverage," he said.
He also shared his and Afterpay's passion to bring forth more sustainability, diversity and accessibility to fashion in Australia
"Our mission is to power an economy in which everyone wins," he said.
A more inclusive Australian Fashion Week for the future
Natalie Xenita, Executive Director of IMG’s fashion events group, Asia-Pacific region said that the decision to waive designer participation fees is one IMG hopes will help Australian fashion designers on the road to post-pandemic recovery.
"There's no doubt the pandemic has placed tremendous challenges upon the industry and financial challenges on the industry. It was it was really important to be able to do something very meaningful, to be able to help designers in their recovery and help them to be able to still participate in Australian fashion week. So waiving the designer participation fees, but also the the fees for the industry to register to attend as well next year. It's our way of trying to help in the in the efforts to recover and get us back to business," she said in an exclusive interview with RUSSH.
"This year, we unfortunately canceled the event. And we couldn't bring to life, our consumer integration that we had planned. So we are looking forward to bringing that to the event next year. And I think having Afterpay as our new title sponsor, is so exciting in helping us open up the event to consumers and making it accessible. "
Xenita shared IMG's excitement to open the event to the public allowing the whole city to celebrate creativity and fashion together - and IMG's excitement to champion all involved.
"It's about celebrating our whole industry. And it's about including all of the behind the scenes industry that make the event happen. So not just the designers, but all of their teams, their hair and makeup artists, you know, the stylists, the show producers, photographers, journalists. Down to the security and catering and planning staff.
"You know, it takes a village," she said
In addition to Afterpay and Destination NSW, AAFW is supported by City of Sydney, ghd hair, San Pellegrino, Tempus Two, Napoleon Perdis, GlamCorner and Disaronno.
Visit www.australianfashionweek.com, the digital home for AAFW, for more information.