Challenges for the Australian Fashion Industry

Using an assortment of sponsorships and collaborations, a combination of style heavyweights and beginners, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia (MBFWA) set the scene for weekly which stands together with the most well-known runways of worldwide fashion events. Has Australia’s fashion industry entered a new age concerning competing in a worldwide marketplace? Here are a number of ways Australian designers have used the runways of Fashion Week to market global prominence in an attempt to raise their following and profit margins.

Local Versus International

Australian trend remains major business in the home. In accordance with New South Wales (NSW) Minister for Tourism and Major Events, Adam Marshall, “Fashion is a powerhouse industry that drives annual retail sales of around $9.2 billion and employs some 77,000 people in NSW across manufacturing, wholesaling and retailing.”

But, with no all-important worldwide stage, Australian designers will battle with profit margins.

Pip Edwards, who possesses street-meets-sportswear tag P.E Nation, creating basketball apparel and hoodies and other sportswear, with Claire Tregoning says Australia might have a strong style existence but it still requires the worldwide industry.

“I think Australian fashion breeds a lot of great talent but the realm of fashion is global and we need to showcase at that level,” Edwards said. “Fashion is a numbers game and a volumes game which is provided by an international platform.”

While e-commerce has made a dent in the international fashion market, Australia’s challenges are exceptional. A growth in online sales has also jeopardized bricks and mortar shops. Some regional designers have been able to cover the exorbitant price tag of a commercial lease that, in Australia, can also be one of the most expensive on the planet. Consequently, their capacity to always maintain the eye of the local consumer is hindered.

Australian designers, such as custom basketball uniform designers, also must appeal to both the Southern and Northern hemispheres with a designer embracing a transeasonal approach for their own collections, all the while having to fulfil the requirements of the customer versus keeping an unfiltered new aesthetic.

“Like all fashion economies, Australia needs the support and investment of the broader international community,” states Andrew Serrano, Vice President Global Fashion, for global events and talent management firm, IMG.

Upping the Ante

With this audience in mind, local designers that showcased their collections in this Fashion Week also partook in company informed initiatives, for example, long-term collaborations, to expand their reach.

By way of instance, this year’s Fashion Week lead-up started on a runway – a real airport, with two versions sporting clothes from local icon Romance Was Born, posing against the background of an Etihad Airways airliner as part of the Runway to Runway program.

After Fashion Week, Etihad Airways will encourage Romance Was Born with its global expansion in Paris in which the brands intend to present its very first set throughout Couture Fashion Week.

“Fashion is core to Etihad Airways’ sponsorship strategy, representing an ideal brand fit, sharing attributes of being ambitious, innovative and remarkable,” states Linda Celestino, Vice President Guest Expertise, and Delivery, Etihad Airways.

Others included a powerful dose of theatricality for their demonstrations to make articles designed to be observed by global media, retailers, and buyers, together with millions of style fans around the globe.

In this vein, there have been several noteworthy stand-outs. Fashion veterans Camilla and Marc celebrated their 15th anniversary by devoting visitors into the Australian outback, with all 60 tonnes of shipped-in sand and stone formations that sprinkled a 120-meter runway to flaunt their Profession yet innovative collection.

Dual Rainbouu commandeered the Lansdowne Hotel, where 90’s grunge band Nirvana formerly played, to flaunt Synth Suave – a surfy and mind urban wear set which took their brand marketing from published Hawaiian tees to prepared for the runway.

“We always go with our gut and do what feels right,” says designers Mikey Nolan and Toby Jones.

The last “a-ha” moment came in the kind of Camilla Franks who closed the event with an exotic ready-to-wear collection, introducing to the song of a Japanese dream spiked with trademark prints which are popular amongst a ton of global models and Beyonce.

Obviously, the front rows of every display were also full of a star-studded line-up, such as Australian pop duo The Veronicas, global supermodels Delilah Belle Hamlin, Georgia Fowler and Jennifer Hawkins, together with plenty of prominent influencers and global media who had their own cameras poised, prepared to project the attempts of the Australian fashion industry on the planet.


The Answer

Their combined efforts seem to be paying off. International buyers have discovered that the laid-back aesthetic of Australian designers appeals to the global consumer.

“We look to Australian designers for their fresh take on of-the-moment trends in a wearable and modern aesthetic. Our customers love this effortless and unique approach,” says Kate Johanson, Shopbop Associate Fashion Director.

There is also a bigger need for Australian designers to demonstrate their collections during many different global fashion weeks with, as an instance, Tome and Dion Lee revealing at New York and Toni Maticevski and Ellery revealing in Paris.

Through a collaborative effort and brand planning, one forged between neighbourhood layout and a global audience, the work of Australian trend is hitting the far corners of the world.

So while the surroundings appear promising, the near future of Australian trend finally still rests at the hands of the global consumer.