MBFWA 2014 – An iconic opening in the face of high street invasion by H&M


Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia has kicked off last night with a stunning show by Carla Zampatti, which featured de-structured modern shapes with splashes of acid lime and cobalt. Zampatti, who has been a part of the Australian fashion industry for almost 50 years, was also awarded the “Mercedes-Benz Presents” award. There is a hefty line up for the four-day event with 76 designers set to showcase their collections. Out of the 76, 42 of the designers are new, or still to make a big name for themselves.

What is also new this year is a special Mercedes-Benz Fashion Weekend Edition. On 12-13 April fashion shows at the Carriageworks , Everleigh, are open to all, with tickets on sale from ticketmaster. The Weekend Edition will consist of a series of runway shows featuring the best of MBFWA, how-to hair and beauty sessions, trend showcases and discussions with International bloggers. Another new initiative is the shop the runway option. A capsule collection created by fashion week designers will be available to buy via a live stream or direct from the runway. These initiatives come new owners of the event, IMG and a partnership with Destination NSW, who have secured the MBFWA event until 2015.

These new initiatives and faces at fashion week are a welcome change after what has been a dark few months in the Australian fashion industry. Tough economic times have meant the loss some of our iconic designers, such as Collette Dinnigan, Alannah Hill and Kirrily Johnson. Combine this loss with the opening of Swedish high street giant H&M in Melbourne yesterday and also the Japanese brand Uniqlo,, who is set to open its doors in Melbourne on 16 April and the landscape of Australian fashion is set for a further shake up.

Despite these challenges, the collections set to go on show this week may demonstrate why Australian designers are still key players in the international fashion arena. Ginger and Smart’s collection, which is inspired by dualism, will combine fluid pieces with textured simplicity, while Bec & Bridge’s collection is all about a journey “In the morning it’s a modern nostalgia; layers of fluid sand and battered indigo. Textured linen and hand dyed silks – well worn leather and the lightest of denims.” Christopher Esber’s collection will have a nautical vibe while Toni Maticevski’s collection will be “an exploration of flowers” with “clothes that feel good enough to sleep with”.

I’m looking forward to Romance Was Born’s collection – what will they present to top the mushroom show from last year? And up and coming label Aje, (Kate Moss is a fan), who are presenting a collection which promises to be an adventure.