Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in Sydney was remarkable, for a while, for gaining global traction despite being out of the way for most editors and buyers, and well out of the standard four-city fashion week circuit. However, the event seems to be losing steam as its biggest designers move away to show in New York, Paris, and London.
The turn taken by the event is an unfortunate example of what can happen when out-of-the-way or experimental designers find mainstream success. As Aussie labels like Zimmerman and Sass & Bide have grown up and moved away, Fashion Week Australia has continued to charge designers typical rates to show at its tents — but now, most of those left are fledgling creators who can’t really afford the $6000 to $14000 barrier to entry. Those who can often go into debt to do it.
As the number of visiting international buyers dwindles, proportionate to the drop in big names, so too should the fees to show. The best way for the event to regain its footing is to embrace its de facto position as a experimental ground for new designers.