Over 9,000 miles away from New York City, a bubbling ecosystem for fashion is emerging in Australia. As a $12 billion Australian industry, fashion contributes 220,000 jobs across the vertical in an economy that has one of the highest online shopping rates in the world. On an early August trip, our team got to witness first hand the aesthetic identity of a culture rich in inspiration.
Chief among the growth and establishment of the Australian fashion scene is the recently incorporated Australian Fashion Chamber. The AFC, whose diverse board includes editors from Vogue Australia and Harper’s Bazaar Australia to educators and lawyers, supported 42 Australian fashion designers in their first year. The AFC’s general manager Courtney Miller and the board is committed to helping designers – no matter what stage – partnering them with industry mentors and hosting seminars by the likes of Jean Paul Gaultier. The AFC is set to head to Paris this spring to showcase Australian talent at Paris fashion week.
On the tech side, FashHack Australia has emerged on the scene to bridge the gap between technology and fashion and the US. The event brought together our cofounder, Gemma Sole, and Amy Millman, President of Springboard Enterprises, to discuss learnings from the NYFTLab program and the potential in Australia for entrepreneurism in fashion. With the multi-day FashHack hackathon, the proximity to Asia, and the growing talent and interest in Sydney, the scene is ripe for retail and fashion innovation. See the footage on Meerkat here:
We had the pleasure of meeting a number of designers while in Sydney and scoping out the streets for up and coming and established talents. On a break for flat whites in Paddington, our creative director Lucy and Gemma met the sister team of RachelAlex (named for the sisters) whose textile and garment designs provide a colorful and rich example of great emerging Aussie talent. The team popped into the namesake shops of Melbourne-based brother-sister duo, Alpha60, and Sydney based mother-daughter team, Kaliver. This doesn’t even include the plethora of talent coming out of Melbourne (next visit!).
We can’t wait till the next excuse to visit. Until then, check out our Aussie designers to get a taste of design down under.