Fashion in Australia has a new name.
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 will run from May 31 until June 4 2021 - pending the COVID-19 social-distancing restrictions in place at the time.
Below is everything you need to know about fashion week in Australia.
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.
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.