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:: Spotlight :: 2016 Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia

By: Carmine Pascuzzi

IMG has announced that Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia will become the first event to host an annual, organized showcase of Resort collections. The global event hosted in Sydney each year will shift from its previous April dates and focus on Spring/Summer collections to May 15 – 21, 2016 with collections centred around Resort.

The decision to make MBFWA the home of Resort collections was made in collaboration with local industry leaders, designers and the NSW Government. The schedule will include the region’s biggest names in fashion working to further establish Sydney as a global fashion capital.

“We welcome Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia’s move to late May,” said designer Dion Lee. “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.”

With an increasing percentage of global retail budgets allocated to Resort, these collections present a large business opportunity for export. Resort collections are trans-seasonal in nature and see up to a six month retail life in the Asia Pacific market. In addition, fashion and lifestyle media are increasingly dedicating more resources to cover Resort.

“The global fashion industry is relatively regulated according to an international schedule. It is time that Australia moves forward, pioneering a unique offering that reflects our fashion identity. Australian designers’ ability to present Resort offers both local and international buyers the most relevant and desired collection on the calendar. This means that these collections have a longer sell through period and shelf life, allowing for greater profits and commercial viability,” said Eva Galambos, Director and Buyer, Parlour X.

"The Australian fashion industry is valued at $12 billion, with TCF&L products contributing about $3 billion 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,” said Catherine Bennett, SVP and Managing Director, IMG Fashion Events & Properties. “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.”

The NSW Government, through its tourism and major events agency Destination NSW, is a strategic partner of MBFWA and is working closely with IMG on this new strategy.

“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,” said Stuart Ayres, NSW Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events.

This strategic evolution of MBFWA from 2016 and beyond will support the 20-year history of an industry event that has helped build global brands and places the spotlight on new Australian design talent. The new timing and Resort offering reflects the qualified opinion of Australian fashion industry leaders and the importance of maintaining global relevance for the region’s leading fashion event.


**IMG has announced the 2016 Next Gen line-up**

Landing a spot on the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia schedule is on many an aspiring designer’s checklist and for these six young Australian brands, the box will be checked in May. IMG has announced the line-up for the Next Gen show, with a selection of young designers from around the country.

Anna Quan, Kaliver, Third Form, Holystone, Jason Hewitt and Monster Alphabets will showcase their brands to a selection of local and international media and buyers in a single presentation. The six talents represent a diverse range of aesthetics, hailing from different areas of Australia. Anna Hoang of Anna Quan, who already counts Kendall Jenner as a fan (remember that jumpsuit?), is known for a modern take on tailoring, while Third Form’s Merryn Kelly has amassed a cult following with her pared back take on ready-to-wear. They join the romantic offerings from Roni Cross’s Kaliver, Monster Alphabet’s Japanese-inflected pieces, leather label Holystone and Jason Hewitt.

The group beat out over 50 finalists and were chosen by a panel of industry leaders including Vogue Australia’s editor-in-chief Edwina McCann, David Jones merchandise director Donna Player,’s Justin O’Shea and Parlour X founder Eva Galambos among others.

As part of Australian fashion week’s restructure, shifted from April to May to create a focus on resort, Project Next Gen has evolved from its previous group format to six specially-selected designers who underwent a judging process. After presenting their collections to the panel the names were selected by seven panelists.

The designers chosen will also receive a one year mentorship from St. George Bank Business Advisory.

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia will run from May 15-20, 2016.

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