Fashion has always been in Melbourne’s DNA so it makes sense that Australia’s second biggest city has shaken things up on the runway for Melbourne Fashion Week, which kicked off this week.
It’s come after a period of 19 months of multiple lockdowns, earning Melbourne the title of the most locked down city in the world. Now, after finally opening its doors, the streets have truly come alive with a host of dazzling fashion shows which are being praised for inclusiveness and innovation.
From November 15 to 21, the Melbourne Fashion Show has held runways in theatres, the Botanic Gardens and even car parks; all with the aim of reinvigorating the CBD, boosting the retail sector and getting people to shop in stores again.
Rather than runways being held in big warehouses, the organisers moved the shows to COVID-19 friendly locations, such as the MCG underground car park, the Sea Life Aquarium, the Plaza Ballroom beneath the Regent Theatre and the National Gallery of Victoria.
“This is a people’s event. It’s about runway to retail,” Sally Capp, Lord Mayor of Melbourne, spokesperson for the event that is operated by Melbourne City Council told the Sydney Morning Herald. “We are hoping for a bump up in the CBD. Normally, we are the lead in to the Spring Racing Carnival with its finery. By moving the dates we are making sure that people can physically go and enjoy a full-on retail fashion experience.”
Danielle Johansen, the CEO and Founder of Threadicated which offers an online end to end personal styling experience delivered to your door, describes Melbourne Fashion Week as a prayer from above.
For Danielle, the highlights include the runways shows of Ginger and Smart and Ngali.
“Australian fashion royalty, Ginger and Smart influence the season with designs for spirited women. Always offering a sense of cool confidence and discovery that underpin the luxury contemporary design aesthetic of each collection,” she says.
“Ngali is a designer with a lot of buzz and it is easy to see why. Ngali designs each silhouette to celebrate the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artworks adorning the garment.”
The show has also received praise for the Access to Fashion event at Library at the Dock, in Melbourne’s Docklands precinct which featured a diverse cast of models living with various disabilities. The history making event was organised by appearance advocate Carly Findlay and was a first for Melbourne Fashion Week. There’s also the Trading Black Pop Up Shop which showcases Aboriginal designers including Kiya Watt, Take Pride Movement, Nungala Creative, Gillawarra Arts, Jarin Street, Kirrikin, Jarawee, Amber Days, Kakadu Tiny Tots, Willum Warrain Aboriginal Bush Nursery and Ngumpie Weaving.
Fashion is often at the forefront of change and there’s no better example of this than at this year’s Melbourne Fashion Show.
Here is today’s programme
Day three will see Pop Up Runway 2 focusing on the themes of self-determination in action and Blak voices through fashion, this runway will showcase a diverse selection of established and emerging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander brands.
This evening will see a Melbourne Fashion Week first – SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium’s mesmerising underwater world acts as the backdrop for a once-in-a-lifetime runway experience.
Slow fashion and sustainability will be in focus at the Aquarium Runway with local designers to be featured including ELK, búl, SZN and Sister Studios.
Melbourne Fashion Week runs from 15 to 21 November and features more than 250 designers and 300 retailers across more than 100 different events and sessions.
Main image: Photographer Liana Hardy
Find out more here: https://mfw.melbourne.vic.gov.au/program/