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Inside the Independent Runway presented by Fashion Journal

PHOTOGRAPHY BY CHARLIE HAWKS
WORDS BY CAIT EMMA BURKE

A true celebration of homegrown talent.

In my time as a fashion editor, I’ve had the privilege of seeing some incredible runway shows. These shows took place in beautiful venues and showcased equally beautiful outfits but last week, I joined a runway event unlike any I’ve ever attended. Call me biased, but PayPay Melbourne Fashion Festival’s (PayPal MFF) Independent Runway, presented by Fashion Journal, was something particularly special.

Curated by PayPal MFF’s Executive Programmer Savannah Anand-Sobti, the runway featured predominantly up-and-coming designers, many of them only at the very beginning of their careers. As the presenting partner of the show, we at FJ have covered, supported and been captivated by these designers, in many cases since their inception.


For more fashion news, shoots, articles and features, head to our Fashion section.


The sold-out event took place at Collingwood Yards – a fitting location, as it’s a hub of local creative talent. Styled by Abby Bennett, it featured genuinely exciting designs, the type you can easily imagine Euphoria’s stylist being in raptures over (when are we going to see Jules in some Wackie Ju already??).

A testament to the stellar lineup, it was a show that everyone wanted to be at. As FJ fielded multiple requests from those who missed out on tickets, it felt like everyone in our creative community wanted to be there.

On-site, it was a real joy to witness the genuine support each of the featured designers showed to one other. Many were seated side-by-side, and as the moment came for each to see their collection on the runway, they turned to share in the excitement or plant a kiss on a cheek. For many, this was the first time they’d been involved in a runway of this scale, and their elation was palpable.

Unlike the commercial runways at PayPal MFF, where many of the designers’ collections are already available for purchase, most designers at the Independent Runway were showcasing their collections for the first time.

Whether it was Ramp Tramp Tramp Stamp’s deconstructed, fit-flexible lingerie or Youkhana’s colourful hand-braided dresses, there was the distinct feeling that what we were seeing was not a regurgitation of trends but their starting point.

“I HAVE CHILLS” I fired off to my friends’ group chat post-runway, and it was a sentiment that was shared by many that night. The runway felt alive, and this feeling extended beyond the show to the wrap drinks in the Hope St Radio courtyard afterwards.

Designers and models mingled with show-goers, providing us with a second look at some of the designs that were showcased, but this time with a little more flair and individuality than we’d seen on the undeniably cohesive runway.

As the night drew to a close, the several-wines-deep FJ team had the realisation that we had witnessed Fashion Journal being brought to life; it was a manifestation of everything we love about fashion, and an evening we’ll be thinking about for a long time to come. Continue scrolling for more backstage moments.

For more on PayPal Melbourne Fashion Festival, head here.

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