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Australian Fashion Week to focus on Resort

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


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London - In an effort to make Sydney a global force in fashion, IMG has announced that its annual Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia event will now take place in late May instead of April and will focus on resort collections.

The aim of the shift in timing is to try and make Australian Fashion Week a global destination, which IMG says will “better serve” Australian fashion and its global audience. Previously the April showcase had focused on autumn/winter fashion, but the organisers are stating that this is too late for designers to take orders and too early to present resort, which is why the fashion week is moving to late May.

The move, the most significant change to Australian Fashion Week in its 20-year history, will place Australian designers at the start of the global buying and reporting cycle for the Resort season, which IMG hopes will establish Sydney as a “global fashion capital”.

It’s also hoped that the change will entice local designers such as Zimmermann and Ellery who prefer to show their collections at overseas fashion weeks, back to showcasing in Australia.

Explaining the move, IMG Fashion Events and Properties SVP and managing director, Catherine Bennett said: "The Australian fashion industry is valued at 12 billion dollar, with TCF&L products contributing about 3 billion dollar to Australia’s total exports. Many Australian designers who export are currently producing southern and northern hemisphere collections simultaneously, resulting in up to five seasonal collections each year.

“Resort collections present a unique offering, as it is the only season where northern and southern hemisphere buying calendars align. With the support of the fashion industry, we look forward to launching Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia as the world’s first Resort event in May 2016.”

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia shifting dates to cover Resort collections

The concept of a fashion week just for Resort reflects the growing importance of the collections, which are generally seen as trans-seasonal in nature, and are attracting an increasing percentage of global retail budgets. In addition, the Resort collections are also known to have a longer shelf life than autumn/winter and spring/summer, which gives designers more time to sell, according to IMG they see up to six-months of retail life in the Asia Pacific market.

Even the British Fashion Council has realised the importance of Resort collections by launching a dedicated event straight after London Collections: Men to help British designers capitalised on selling their lines.

The inaugural Resorts focused Australian Fashion Week will take place from May 15 to 21, 2016, and the schedule will include Australia’s biggest fashion names, including internationally-recognised Dion Lee, who currently shows during New York Fashion Week, who has welcomed the move as it means the event will now sit better within his sales period.

Lee said: “MBFWA will now sit within a sales period for our business, which was a missed opportunity in the past.

“The April date has been too late to take Fall/Winter orders and too early to present Resort. The change in dates will allow us to launch our Resort collection in Sydney during the beginning of the global sales window for this collection.”

The shift in dates has been a coordinated effort between IMG and the New South Wales Government, through its tourism and major events agency Destination NSW, which will act as a strategic partner of MBFWA.

Stuart Ayres, NSW Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events, added: “The world’s most influential buyers and media travel to Sydney for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia and the event promotes both the NSW fashion industry and our harbour city as an iconic fashion destination to audiences worldwide.

“Sydney has been the home of Fashion Week Australia for the past 20 years and this new strategic vision to secure the Resort category presents significant trade and tourism opportunities for NSW and the broader fashion industry.”

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia will take place in Sydney from May 15 to 21, 2016.

Images: Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia

Dion Lee
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Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia