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So What Do You Actually Do At Fashion Week?

Hi Guys, Alicia here. I'm back home after a big week at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia. I'm sure you're insta feed has been flooded with street style pics and runways boomerangs from all your fave bloggers, models and designers. 

So besides from all of farshions who's who coming together in their best dressed, watching runways shows and drinking champagne, what is the actual purpose of fashion week?  Who goes, why and what happens there?

Fashion Week happens a couple times throughout the year in New York, Paris, Milan, London and once a year in Australia. It's essentially one big trade show for designers to present their collections to buyers and the media. And also for buyers and media to see what direction designers are taking their labels in, what the trends are for the next season and any new and emerging designers to keep an eye out for. 

Street style at Carraigeworks MBFW

Designers involved in Fashion Week will put on a show and decide which buyers, media, bloggers, etc they want to invite. Throughout the week they will also open up a show room, which is where buyers will come and meet with them one one to view the collection and decide if they would like to buy into it. Media and bloggers will also come through the showroom to view the collection, chat to the designers and pull garments they want to use for upcoming editorials.

During MBFW buyers and media from all over the world will come to Australia to get the scoop on what's happening in fashion down under. With the likes of Ellery, Dion Lee, Macgraw, Romance Was Born and PE Nation, Australian designers are now making a name for themselves on the international fashion scene, being found on websites and departments stores such as Net-A-Porter, Far Fatched, Saks 5th Avenue, Nordstrome and Selfridges. The majority of brands will open their Resort buy period during Fashion Week in the hopes to get their label in front of some of the industries international heavyweights  that are in town for the week.

Dion Lee showroom  

Designers generally work about six months ahead of season, so last week designers were presenting their Resort '18 collections, which won't start hitting stores till October 2017.  What's with the big wait, right? Well, the designers that show at Fashion Week aren't fast fashion designers, a lot of care, love and detail goes into each and everyone of their designs right through to production, and not every item they present at Fashion Week will go into production. Buyers well select the items they think will sell well in market and place orders on them. Garments that didn't get a good response from buyers, won't be put into production. Only the quantities that have been purchased by buyers and the quantities the brand will be putting into their own boutiques and online stores (if they have them) will be made. The garments aren't mass produced which means that at the end of the season, they're not left with a ton of stock that didn't sell and ends up in landfill.

 Lisa Aiken (Fashion Director Net-a-Porter) and Pip Edwards (PE Nation)

Fashion Week is different for everyone, depending on your role. For bloggers and photographers it's trying to get to as many shows as possible, snap as much footage as possible and then late nights editing images, writing posts and get them live as quickly as possible.

For me, Fashion Week is much more about the meetings and buying than the runway shows. Nearly all the brands we stock, open up their buy period in this week, since it's the week when everyone from interstate and overseas is in town. It's a big week of meeting with the designers or sales agents, viewing the collections, finding out what's happening for the brand and picking out what we're going to be stocking in summer.  I will try to make it to all the runway shows of the brands we stock, and any other brands that I'm interested in stocking. But unfortunately there are a lot of shows I had to miss, because I just couldn't fit it all in! 

Dion Lee Show at Opera House

Highlights of the week:

Dion Lee opened the week with a beautiful show at the iconic Opera House. Everyone who was anyone in the industry was there. However, it was also one of those events that was just full of the "fashion stereotype", which of course is a common theme throughout fashion week. And to me, some of these personalities can be a little disheartening and draining. 

I met with a lovely designer named Jacinta Demetriou who has previously worked for Donna Karen, Rick Owens and Kit X, and is now into her second collection with her own label Jacinta James. Jacinta's label is beautifully crafted locally in Sydney, using fine Japanese and Italian natural fabrics. I loved chatting with her about the importance of slowing fashion down and ethical and sustainable practices in the industry. Which is something we both care about so much. I look forward to stocking Jacinta's line at Rebel Muse in the near future. 

Macgraw always puts on one of the best shows of the week.  You know what their secret is to a successful show? Their models SMILE!! The models always genuinely look like they are having so much fun walking for Macgraw, they look comfortable, sexy and excited about the gorgeous clothes they're wearing and skip down the catwalk holding hands, giggling and hugging at the final walk. It's infectious and everyone in the audience was smiling and feeling good. Hey, if that's how the clothes make you feel, I'll have one of everything!! 

Final walk for Macgraw

Macgraw models backstage

Later in the week I met with the lovely Beth and Tessa Macgraw in their showroom. The craftsmanship, creativity and fabrication in their designs is outstanding and always set their collections apart. They showed me the lace they developed themselves out of superfine merino wool which features in dresses and tops they presented for their Woolmark prize winning collection. I always have such a blast in the showroom with these two beautiful and inspirational women. 

Beth & Tessa Macgraw

The Hansen and Gretel show was also a stand out for me. It was a big collection with lots of fun prints and colours. I also got to meet the designer Ainsley Hansen at the Launch showroom later that week. 

Final walk for Hansen & Gretel

Acler did something a little different during MBFW. They put on a lovely lunch in collaboration with Myer at No.1 Bent Street. It was an intimate affair hosted by Myer ambassador Rachel Finch with guests including Jennifer Hawkins. I got to sit next to the lovely Lisa Messenger, founder of The Collective and had a lovely chat with her. We had a little sneak peak preview of their resort collection on a live model installation and watched Jodey Pawley create a sculpture of one of the models. The beauties and brains behind the label Julia and Kathryn did a Q&A talking about their journey with Acler while we all dinned on a delicious lunch by famous chef Mike McEnearny.

Jodey Pawley creating a sculpture at Acler Lunch, No.1 Bent Street

I'm kicking myself that I didn't go to the Romance Was Born show, despite being invited. It was on Thursday night and I had a shit load of emails and work to catch up on! I decided to spend the night in, working instead. I was however lucky enough to get a sneak peak of the Electro Child collection at a showing with one half of Romance Was Born, Anna Plunkett. Romance Was Born continuously push the boundaries with design, creativity, technique and colour! The collection is nothing like I had seen and from what I saw on social, neither was their show.

Romance Was Born runway show

Viewing collections from Australian Made brands Bassike and Casey Devlin were also highlights of the week, which you should hopefully be seeing make an appearance in Rebel Muse in the near future.  

I was devastated that I missed the Alice McCall runway show! I had a showing with Ten Pieces before hand at Icebergs in Bondi and just didn't make it across town to Carriageworks in time! The doors closed just as I got there, and no amount of pleading with the security guards would see them change their minds about letting me sneak in. Once again though I did of course get to see the collection in the show room, which is AH-MAZING!! And I am so excited to announce that we are going to be offering a small quantity of runway pieces for pre-sale from next week!!! 

Alice McCall Showroom 

Alice McCall runway show

And finally, I attended a talk with Ethical Clothing Australia and Clean Cut Fashion hosted by Clare Press of Marie Clare and an interview panel with Margie Woods of Viktoria & Woods, Gabrielle Manning of Manning Cartell and model/Marine Biologist Laura Wells. This was a big highlight of the week and it excites me to see such influential names in the industry stand up for such an important topic. This was a very inspiring part of the week for me and has sparked some exciting new ideas and collaborations for Rebel Muse!! Stay tuned!

Margie Woods, Clare Press, Laura Wells and Gabrielle Manning

Images: Alicia Xyrakis, Vogue, Marie Claire, Words: Alicia Xyraxis, Yadira Galarza Cauchi

Tell us, what were your MBFWA17 highlights?

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