Fashion / Fashion Feature

Afterpay Australian Fashion Week: schedule, designers and more

Fashion in Australia has a new name.

In October 2020, RUSSH was proud to help announce Afterpay as the new headline sponsor of Australian fashion week.

IMG, organisers of the event, confirmed buy-now-pay-later company Afterpay as the new driving force behind the prestigious week-long showcase. The very first Afterpay Australian Fashion Week or AAFW runs from May 31 until June 4 2021.

Below is everything you need to know about fashion week in Australia.

christopher esber aafw

One could safely point out that following a finale lead by Gemma Ward – if you didn’t already – we all want to be Christopher Esber’s girl.

St Agni’s AAFW 2021 show, Resort 22 was inspired by the French Riviera

A capsule of elevated, ‘less-is-more’ staples this particular edit from St Agni seeks to redefine the idea of event dressing.

Afterpay Australian Fashion Week certainly served us some unique, bold and inventive beauty looks.ita Lual.


RUSSH editors round up our favourite models and faces from Afterpay Australian Fashion Week 2021 including Atty Mitchell and Bakhita Lual.

An elegant start to the final day.


Volume, shimmer and drape.

Get ready to channel Maddy Perez from Euphoria.

We’re off for day four. Are you tired yet? Neither are we.

The Innovators AAFW 2021

Here, we introduce you to the five designers paving the way.

Consistently using her platform for the betterment of all of us, the KITX show last night began with a moment of shared education.

anna quan

One night in Paris, one night with Anna. Resort 22 was a testament to all synonymous with the city of love: pared-back, thought through, elevated and endlessly chic.


Always was, always will be, Aboriginal land.

Day three of AAFW started on a high note with the First Nations Fashion + Design showcase. It’s going to be a hard show to top.

First Nation Fashion and Design

“This is a legacy. It’s not a moment, it’s a movement.”

Day two at Carriageworks at AAFW 2021 was a buzz of excitement at this years Next Gen show which celebrated the newest designers to watch.

Called ‘The Optimist’, it was a grounding show that could awaken even the most disconnected.

850m North of Bondi Beach sits Société, the concept space home to Albus Lumen and the gathering spot for today’s unveiling of ‘Evadere’, the brand’s ethereal Resort 22 collection.

AAFW 2021 Day Two: Commas invites us to a distant shore

We had an early morning start on this frosty Tuesday morning at Commas on Tamarama Beach.

Models floated, clad in sequins and stitched together lace doilies, injecting romance back into the hearts of the guests.

Runway ready – come backstage with bassike for ‘Pause’ Resort ’22

It’s a special kind of energy that crackles in the air right before a show.

Fresh off and on the runway: the street style looks from AAFW 2021 the ‘RUSSH’ team can’t get enough of

AAFW street style 2021

Serving looks all week long.


A return to nature, a return to home, COMMAS sets us up for a proverbial reset from the week ahead.arts of the guests.

Jordan Dalah has not come to make dresses we can wear to a summer BBQ. Thank god.


Agate, hand dyed jersey and digitally printed shibori.

AAFW 2021 Day One: Jordan Dalah takes us to new heights with exaggerated silhouetting

Jordan Dalah

We’re back.


At Lindesay House in Darling Point, founders and co-creative directors Tessa and Beth Macgraw hosted an intimate group of guests on the lawn to preview their latest collection.


We’re rounding up the Australian designers to watch ahead of AAFW.


“As a business, you really to understand the choices that you’re making.”

Step inside St. Agni’s first ever fashion week show.

The next gen aafw

The four winners are set to show at the Next Gen showcase at AAFW 2021.

Afterpay Australian Fashion Week schedule

The schedule for AAFW was announced on April 27 2021 - find all the show dates and times below.

Monday May 31

  • 8am: Welcome to Country - Blacksmith Workshop
  • 9am: Jordan Dalah - Gallery II
  • 10:30am: Carla Zampatti Tribute
  • 11am: MacGraw - Watch on
  • 12pm: In conversation with Aje - The Talks Room
  • 1pm: Rebecca Vallance - Gallery II
  • 2pm: Bondi Born - Off-site show
  • 2:30pm: Lady-Brains Live Podcast - The Talks Room
  • 3:30pm: Bassike Off-site show
  • 4pm: Passion for Purpose - The Talks Room
  • 4:30pm: Alice McCall - Gallery II
  • 6pm: Romance Was Born - Gallery I
  • 7:30pm: Romance Was Born AAFW: The Experience - Gallery I


Tuesday June 1

  • 7:30am: Commas - Off-site
  • 9am: Ginger & Smart - Gallery I
  • 11am: Oroton - Gallery II
  • 11am: Grazia Presents Chit Chat -
  • 11:30am: Akira - Off-site show
  • 12pm: In coversation with Camilla - The Talks Room
  • 12:30: Albus Lumen - Off-site shows
  • 2pm: Next Gen - Gallery I
  • 3pm: Maggie Marilyn
  • 3:30pm: Hair Masterclass - The Talks ZRoom
  • 4:30pm: IXIAH - Gallery II
  • 6pm: The Talks Wonder Woman - The Talks Room
  • 7:30pm: Christian Kimber - Off-site show
  • 7:30pm: Bassike AAFW: The Experience - Gallery I
  • 8:30pm: Michael Lo Sordo


Wednesday June 2

  • 9am: First Nations Fashion + Design - Gallery I
  • 10:30am: White Sands - Gallery II
  • 11am: Grazia Presents Chit Chat - Watch on
  • 12pm: We Are Kindred - Off-site show
  • 12pm: In conversation with Alex Perry & P.E Nation
  • 1:30pm: Daniel Avakian - Gallery I
  • 2pm: The Talks Fashion As A Force For Change - The Talks Room
  • 2:30pm: Yousef Akbar - Gallery II
  • 4pm: Shona Joy - Watch on
  • 4:30pm: Beare Park - Off-site show
  • 5pm: The Talks Fashioning The Future - The Talks Room
  • 6pm: Mariam Seddiq - Gallery II
  • 7:30pm: Anna Quan - Off-site show
  • 7:30: KITX AAFW: The Experience - Gallery I


Thursday June 3

  • 9am: The Innovators: FDS TAFE NSW - Gallery I
  • 10:30am: Rumer - Gallery II
  • 11am: Grazia Presents Chit Chat - Watch on
  • 12pm: Non+ - Off-site show
  • 12pm: In Conversation With: Selected. - The Talks Room
  • 1:30pm: Indigenous Fashion Projects - Gallery I
  • 2:30pm: Iordanes Spyridon Gogos - Gallery II
  • 3pm: The Talks: The Growth of Fashion in the First Nations Sector - The Talks Room
  • 3:30pm: Injury - Watch on
  • 4:30pm: Auteur - Off-site show
  • 5pm: Lady-Brains Live Podcast - Balcony Bar
  • 6pm: Aqua Blu - Gallery II
  • 6pm: The Talks: Generation: NXT - The Talks Room
  • 7:30pm: Manning Cartell - Gallery I
  • 8:30pm: Saski Collcetion - Off-site show
  • 9:30pm: Russh Magazine Presents: Fashion, Let's Dance - Off-site show


Friday June 4

  • 9am: St Agni - Off-site show
  • 9:30am: Patbo - Watch on
  • 10am: In Conversation with: Commas - The Talks Room
  • 10:30am: The Upside - Off-site show
  • 11am: Grazia Presents Chit Chat - Watch on
  • 12pm: The Talks: Zimmerman - The Talks Room
  • 2:30pm: The Talks: The Future of Fashion is Intelligent - The Talks Room
  • 3pm: Karla Spetic - Off-site show
  • 4pm: Elk - Watch on
  • 5pm: House of Campbell - Watch on
  • 6:30pm: Christopher Esber - Gallery II
  • 7:30pm: Afterpay's Future of Fashion - Gallery I


When is fashion week and where is it held?

Sydney's Carriageworks will remain the home of fashion week in Australia. The inaugural AAFW will be held at Carriageworks from May 31 until Jun 4. Some shows will be set in select off-site locations, but most showcases will take place across Carriageworks' set of runways.


How is Afterpay Australian Fashion Week different?

Afterpay Australian Fashion Week will be very much the same as past events - previously known as Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia, in line with the event's former headline sponsor.

Although, there will be some key changes around inclusion and accessibility. AAFW made the decision to waive designer fees, which were often a financial barrier for smaller brands. There will be no fees applied to designers, instead designers will be invited to show.

Similarly, fashion week was previously only access by delegates: fashion professionals, media, organisers, buyers and models and other industry professionals. But now, selected parts of the event will be open to the public.

You can see the new vision of fashion week in Australia in the film Afterpay created in collaboration with RUSSH as part of the formal announcement of the new AAFW.


Who can attend Afterpay Australian Fashion Week?

Anyone can now attend AAFW.

“Afterpay is looking forward to enabling a wider consumer audience access to all the runway shows and talks that make up Afterpay Australian Fashion Week: The Experience. Members of the public can not only purchase their tickets and pay for them in four interest free instalments, but purchase directly from the runway, and pay later using Afterpay,” said Nick Molnar, Co-Founder and Co CEO, Afterpay.

Much the of the week will be reserved for professionals that work within the fashion industry. But many of the bigger shows and the talks will be accessible by members of the public through the purchase of ticket.

The 2021 public runway show program includes:

  •  Monday May 31, 7.30pm: AAFW’s blockbuster opening night showcase, with details soon to be announced.
  • Tuesday June 1, 7.30pm: A see-now, buy-now runway from bassike, one of Australia’s leading designer fashion brands with a philosophy that centres on high-quality design and sustainable manufacturing.
  • Wednesday June 2, 7.30pm: The original house of sustainability, designer Kit Willow of KITX will present a see-now, buy-now showcase of her luxurious positive impact women’s ready-to-wear.
  • Thursday June 3, 7.30pm: Celebrating their 15th anniversary, Manning Cartell will return to the AAFW schedule with a see-now, buy-now show.
  • Friday June 4 , 7.30pm: AAFW will close with a collective showcase celebrating the future of Australian fashion.

Also, AAFW’s ongoing series of culturally-enriching conversations, AAFW: The Talks, will return in 2021 with topics including:

  • Passion for Purpose
  • Wonder Women
  • Fashioning the Future, presented by City of Sydney
  • Generation: NXT

You can secure tickets for the public access areas of AAFW at the event website. Tickets for the talks are $59, while the runway shows range from $119 to $349


History of Australian fashion week

Australian fashion week began in 1996. It was founded by PR professional Simon Lock. Mercedes Benz was the first headline sponsor until it passed over to Rosemount Estate wineries in 2006. But in 2011, the sponsorship was passed back to Mercedes Benz and the event was named Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia. From October 2020, the event was subsequently named Afterpay Australian Fashion week in line with newest headline sponsor, Afterpay.

Australian fashion week was held at the Overseas Passenger Terminal in Circular Quay for many years before moving to Carriagewords in Eveleigh in 2013.

Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia 2020 was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic outbreak. It was set to be the 25th anniversary edition of the historic event.

Some of Australia and the world's biggest designers have showcased at Australian fashion week in the past. Names include Oscar De La Renta, Aje, Christopher Esber and Ellery.

Due to its global placement and event timing, Australian fashion week had drawn some criticism for being out of sync with global fashion. In 2015, the event moved to become a showcase for Resort shows and was moved to May.


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