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Your comprehensive guide to Melbourne Fashion Festival’s 2021 program

WORDS BY CAIT EMMA BURKE

Bringing life back to Melbourne.

Melbourne Fashion Festival (MFF) is creeping increasingly closer, and with it comes the opportunity to attend some seriously impressive IRL and digital fashion events. 2021 marks the festival’s 25th year, making it the longest-running consumer fashion event in Australia (impressive, huh?). Running from March 11 to 20, over 10 days the hybrid program of fashion, arts and ideas (and both live and online events) will showcase the best that Melbourne has to offer.


  • Melbourne Fashion Festival runs from March 11 to 20
  • There will be both live and digital events and runways 
  • Tickets are on sale now, and you can go on the waitlist for runway shows that have already sold out

This year, MFF has been reimagined in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and responsibility, flexibility and innovation are at the forefront of the program. As always, MFF’s purpose is to amplify Australian talent, bolster the retail sector and entertain and delight attendees. Speaking about this year’s program, MFF’s Acting CEO, Yolanda Finch, said “This new festival is the sum of all parts. It will hero the unprecedented coming together of creative, and cultural industries, joining forces to build shared advocacy outcomes for Melbourne on a local and national scale.”


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MFF’s ability to support the creative and economic sectors of Victoria is incredibly important, especially so after the devastating impact 2020 had on our local fashion industry. The 2021 campaign focuses in on Melbourne’s long overdue return to life and encourages us all to harness the power of fashion to live in the now. Below is our guide to the program.

The world is your runway

MFF’s signature runways will be making a return in 2021. The festival’s runways present the crème de la crème of Australian ready-to-wear collections to consumers as they are available instore to purchase. This year’s runways are a mixture of digital and live events, with many of them being staged and filmed at some of Melbourne’s most breathtaking locations.

Each of the live runways is staged at a cultural institution, like the National Gallery of Victoria for the opening night’s Gala Runway, presented by David Jones. The Gala Runway, like all the live runways, has already sold out – a clear sign that people are itching for live fashion events post-COVID. While there are no spare tickets for the Gala Runway, you can jump on the waitlist for any of the other live runways, so if you’re eager to see some IRL fashion, head here to jot your name down.

MFF has come through with the digital runway offerings this year, too, and its group designer runways will be re-imagined and screened as free (but ticketed) events, that anyone around the world can view. The runways have been filmed throughout Victoria, in some of the state’s most iconic locations, and will feature some of Fashion Journal‘s favourite designers like E Nolan, Ngali, A.BCH, Kalaurie and Kuwaii, among others. And never fear – a digital runway doesn’t mean you have to say goodbye to gift bags. Your ticket to the online runways includes a digital gift bag that boasts an array of redeemable gifts.

And who could forget MFF’s incredible independent runways? Each year the festival’s Independent Events Program supports emerging creatives and artists to showcase their work in innovative locations across Melbourne. Some of this year’s standouts include the Reborn by Homie x Nobody Denim Pop-Up, a screening of First Nations Fashion and Design’s launch event, Walking in Two Worlds, and the launch of The Social Studio’s collaborative collection, made with Melbourne artist Atong Atem and beloved Sydney label Romance Was Born.

From runway to wardrobe

Did something catch your eye as it sauntered down the runway? You’re in luck – as always, MFF ticket-holders will be able to shop any standout looks directly from the runway. 2021 also sees the festival launch the Shop The Runway digital magazine, edited by former InStyle Editor Emily Taylor.

Industry development

MFF is known (and loved) for its championing of emerging local creative talent through its Industry Development Programs, each of which provides unparalleled access to the Australian fashion industry. The four programs the festival offers are the National Graduate Showcase, presented by Fashion Journal (to read more about this year’s chosen young designers head here), the Fashion Writing Program, the Fashion Film Award and the National Designer Award, presented by David Jones.

A weekend of fashion

In partnership with City of Melbourne, Fashion Weekend is a two-day shopping takeover of the city, taking place on March 12 and 13. It will feature panel discussions, workshops, DJ sets, masterclasses, styling sessions and much more. After you’ve taken in what’s offered on the stage, you can amble around the city and enjoy in-store events, experiences and giveaways.

Arts and ideas

Fashion comes in many forms, as the festival’s arts and ideas offerings can attest to. There will be masterclasses, performances, exhibitions and presentations at Melbourne’s key creative spaces, such as the Immigration Musuem, MPavillion and Heide Museum of Modern Art. And if you’re after a discussion of the many critical issues facing the Australian fashion industry, the Australian Fashion Summit, running from March 17 to 19, will unpack a range of themes through a series of panel discussions and keynote presentations.

Eat, drink, fashion

MFF’s Eat.Drink.Fashion program will be making a return this year, and as always it will offer a carefully curated selection of food and drink destinations across Melbourne. While making your way through the program across the 10 days of the festival, you will be able to explore what’s on offer from a range of leading hospitality venues. Delicious.

To explore the Melbourne Fashion Festival in full, head here.

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