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The public program for Australian Fashion Week 2021 has landed, here’s what you need to know

Photography by Maddie Roux

Words by Stephanie Chadwick

Your time to shine.

Afterpay Australian Fashion Week is around the corner, starting May 31, and the team has just announced its final schedule of events. It’s time to mark your calendars and start planning outfits for five days of fashion events, with consumer events integrated throughout the week-long industry program for the first time ever.

The lineup of events looks a little different this year, with the program marrying physical and digital activations to celebrate Australia’s dynamic fashion industry. From May 31 to June 4, Afterpay Australian Fashion Week will be hosting various fashion events offline at Sydney’s Carriageworks with the occasional offsite show, lots of virtual runways and industry-led panels. And where the first five days of fashion week were once reserved for industry-only attendance, all Australians can now book tickets throughout the entire showcase. 


Looking for more on the future of Australian fashion? Pop over to our Fashion section.


We’ve compiled a list of all the must-see panels, runways and collaborations across fashion week that are open to the public. Consider this Fashion Journal’s guide to taking AAFW and your informal invitation to attend Australian fashion’s biggest event of the year.

The talks you can attend

Over fashion week, there will be a series of culturally enriching panel discussions showing that Australia’s fashion industry is open to conversation and leading the change. 

Passion for Purpose: i=Change founder Jeremy Meltzer will be joined by model and activist Mahalia Handley and Spell’s co-founder and chief brand officer Elizabeth Abegg for a discussion on how to create engaging experiences to connect with customers.

May 31, 4pm

Wonder Women: Listen to Australia’s brightest creative minds discuss driving change and representation across the fashion industry, hosted by the founder of online community @ausindigenousfashion, Yatu-Widders Hunt. The panel features Media Diversity Australia’s Disability Affairs Officer Lisa Cox, model and activist Manahou Mackay, IMG model Bree McCann, and Inprint Magazine creative director, Megha Kapoor.

June 1, 6pm

Fashioning the FutureJoin Maggie Marilyn founder and designer Maggie Hewitt, Nobody Denim co-founder John Condolis and Glam Corner’s Audrey Khaing-Jones as they unpack the bigger picture around social sustainability in the fashion industry.

June 2, 5pm

Generation NXT: Come along and see the 2021 winners of AAFW’s emerging designer program, Next Gen. Designers Minhee Jo, Erik Yvon, Megan Taylor and Amanda Nichols will speak on the challenges and opportunities of working during the pandemic, and where they see the future of their industry.

June 3, 6pm

The runways open to the public 

It wouldn’t be a fashion week without runway shows making headlines, as our country’s best designers showcase their collections for media, buyers and broader industry. This year, AAFW has a packed lineup of designer runways at Carriageworks and off-site, and is opening access to consumers for the below shows, too.

Romance Was Born: For the opening night runway, AAFW presents Romance Was Born, an Australian contemporary fashion house with a unique storytelling vision. 

May 31, 6pm and 7:30pm

Manning Cartell: Australian designer brand Manning Cartell is ethically made and committed to creativity, inclusivity and igniting joy. Tickets are available for fans nationally to attend. 

June 3, 7:30pm

Afterpay’s ‘Future of Fashion’ Runway: The closing runway of AAFW will bring a collective showcase, celebrating the diverse and sustainable future of Australian fashion.

June 4, 7:30pm

The virtual program you can watch from anywhere

If you’re not Sydney-based or your busy schedule doesn’t permit you to travel interstate, fear not. There’s a whole host of events you can attend from the comfort of your own home. 

Grazia’s Chit Chat: In an AAFW exclusive, fashion insiders and icons will join forces to host a virtual series of candid conversations dissecting fashion week’s latest shows and trends. Australians can watch live online to feel part of the action.

May 31 to June 4

Virtual Shows: The Macgraw, Maggie Marilyn, Shona Joy, Injury and Patbos runways will all be available to watch on the AAFW website at their scheduled runway times.

May 31 to June 4

In Conversation With: Shopify Plus is launching a series of intimate panel conversations between some of the Australian fashion industry’s favourite designers and style icons. The lineup includes Alex Perry, Pip Edwards, Claire Tregoning, Camilla Franks, Edwina Forest, Adrian Norris, Elliot Garnaut, Jess Pecoraro, Emma Jarman and Richard Jarman.

To see the full schedule and plan out your fashion week schedule head here. To secure your tickets head over here.

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