How to attend Melbourne Fashion Week without spending a cent

Image via Melbourne Fashion Week
Words by Maeve Kerr-Crowley

There’s nothing wrong with being thrifty.

Let’s be real for a second. Getting involved with big events like Melbourne Fashion Week can be a pricey exercise.

Whether you’re a broke student or just living on a budget, we understand that the price of a Town Hall runway ticket might seem daunting.

But that’s no reason not to get in on the fun. It’s completely possible to fill your schedule during MFW without spending a single cent – not counting topping up your Myki or treating yourself to lunch, obviously.

Here are our picks for some of the best budget-friendly events to hit up.

Street Runways  

So, you can’t swing $40 to make it into Town Hall? Big deal. MFW’s offering of street and pop-up runways are free to attend, and come with the chance to see some of the city’s coolest sights. You’ll probably discover your new favourite designers, too, as a lot of these events showcase smaller independent designers doing incredibly cool things. Our picks are Street Runway 2 and Street Runway 3, which both take place in super-scenic Chinatown, the maximalism-centric Pop-up 6 and HoMie’s collaboration with The Project.

Fashion Capsules  

These free fashion exhibitions are all about getting up close and personal with collections of innovative garments. We recommend Capsule 3, which is all about First Nations designers combining history the past and the future, Capsule 6, inspired by apps and the virtual world, or Capsule 2, which finds very creative uses for standard-issue denim.

Meet the Makers

These intimate talks will give you an insight into how some of your favourite brands actually operate, through demonstrations, films, and Q&A sessions. Our favourite attendees include the designers behind super-local label VOVO, the founder and creative director of Arnsdorf, and zero-waste pattern expert Tess Whitfort.

String Bean Alley

Sure, you could spend money at this bustling market, with stalls covering new and vintage fashion, jewellery, craft and more. Or you could keep your wallet tucked away and just enjoy the host of workshops and meet the maker talks you’ll encounter.


Fashion Week isn’t just about runways. There are plenty of exhibitions popping up around the city, many of which don’t require a ticket. Concept to Creation, for example, gives visitors an intensive inside look at the process of putting together a runway, including garment design, hair and makeup. Or if you’re into photography, Exhibitionism: Contemporary Fashion Photography is also worth hitting up.

Replique L’Otel

Melbourne label S!X is getting creative this year, putting on a series of live performances in secret locations around the city, all of which are free to attend. Each event will present iconic, reimagined garments and accessories in an innovative way. All you need to do to unlock the locations is register online.


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