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Melbourne Fashion Week’s 2020 program launched today and it’s full of free events

IMAGES VIA MELBOURNE FASHION WEEK

WORDS BY CAIT EMMA BURKE

For the first time in Melbourne Fashion Week’s history, it’s bringing the shows directly to you.

Melbourne Fashion Week (M/FW) has released its 2020 program today, and it’s packed with entirely free must-see shows and events.

In line with other fashion weeks around the world, M/FW has reworked its line up to feature both digital and in-person events and has placed a strong focus on a seasonal model, supporting local designers and retailers and championing a more sustainable approach to fashion.

Running from 23-29 of November, M/FW has collaborated with Melbourne’s most beloved designers to produce over 20 solo shows and will be championing the next generation of fashion talent through its Student Collections show, as well as putting a spotlight on inclusive fashion through its collaboration with adaptive clothing brand EveryHuman. Read on for our rundown of the week.

The seasonless approach

Earlier this year, Melbourne’s Lord Mayor Sally Capp signed the Open Letter to the Fashion Industry. The letter was an initiative started by global fashion industry leaders to encourage a more sustainable future for fashion, including a push to create less waste and put an end to overproduction.

In line with this move, M/FW has taken a new approach to its program, giving designers the chance to present seasonless collections, instead of requiring them to only present a new collection. This move is intended to encourage both the industry and consumers to take a more timeless approach to fashion, and highlights M/FW’s committment to a sustainable future for fashion.

Jade Sarita Arnsdorf, the founder of Melbourne label Arnsdorf, a label known for its seasonless approach, told Fashion Journal how it’s felt to watch the rest of the industry adopt these practices. “It’s nice for the wider industry to be embracing these ideas and it becoming more mainstream… I think that Melbourne Fashion Week has really been quite progressive in the global fashion sphere. These issues are coming up in every corner of the globe and it’s nice to see them embraced so quickly in Melbourne and to adapt to this current situation and the situation brands and consumers are in,” she said.

Runways go digital

In a first for M/FW (and an Australian fashion event first), the runway will be brought directly to audiences via 24 digital shows. Designers featured in the digital lineup include Melbourne favourites Arnsdorf, P.A.M., Alpha 60, Kloke, Verner and Kuwaii, and every look featured in the digital shows (excluding student runways) will be available to purchase from local retailers, either online or in person.

Jade Sarita Arnsdorf spoke to Fashion Journal about the unique experience of putting together a digital show. “It’s been a really collaborative exercise, so there’s been a lot of collaborations with stylists, videographers, photographers and talent… this year there’s been a little bit more freedom to experiment and to create perhaps some more progressive content instead of just the usual runway, so I think it’s really exciting and it’s a step in the right direction,” she said. The digital shows and collection looks will be available to watch and shop from November 23.

M/FW conversations

Presented in partnership with Creative Victoria, M/FW’s Conversations will run from November 23-26. There will be four talks – Re-wiring the Fashion System, Fashion x Tech, Aboriginal Fashion’s Footprint and Meet the Designers – each featuring a panel of industry experts discussing issues pertinent to the 2020 fashion landscape.

Re-wiring the Fashion System will explore how we’re consuming fashion in a post-pandemic world, and what the future is for the industry on both a local and global scale.

Fashion x Tech will unpack the immense role technology has played in connecting consumers with fashion this year. The panel will discuss how technology can be used to create sustainable outcomes, the significance of the digital landscape in fashion post-pandemic, the move to digital showrooms and social media’s role in fashion post-COVID.

Facilitated by Grace Lillian Lee from the First Nations Fashion Council, Aboriginal Fashion’s Footprint will shine a spotlight on the current and upcoming talent and leaders of Aboriginal fashion, and will explore their role in both the Australian and global fashion landscape.

Meet the Designers will be facilitated by Fashion Journal‘s very own Managing Editor, Giulia Brugliera, and will allow you to hear from M/FW’s runway designers as they unpack the opportunities and difficulties this year has brought with it, and explain how they’ve adapted to the ‘new normal’.

Our pick of the must-see events

The M/FW program is bursting with incredible events, so to help you out, here is a small selection of some our top picks. A Fashion Journal favourite, Arnsdorf is an industry leader when it comes to sustainable, seasonless fashion, and its intimate, film-like runway show is not to be missed.

Melbourne-based fashion label Ngali’s (one of Yatu Widders-Hunt’s emerging Indigenous designers to watch) designs show the breadth and diversity of Indigenous art and fashion and its show is sure to be a memorable experience.

Australia’s first accessible and inclusive online clothing platform, EveryHuman, is putting together a collaborative runway with M/FW, and every look featured is designed by people who have lived experience of the challenges of finding adaptive clothing that they like. The show’s aim is to inspire and empower, and it will be a dynamic presentation that will feature dance and athletics, as well as clothing from Christina Stephens, an adaptive fashion label Fashion Journal profiled recently.

This is just a tiny selection from a seriously impressive line-up of both IRL and digital events, pop-ups and runway shows, so be sure to take some time to get some friends together, choose your favourites and secure your tickets. Head here to browse the program in its entirety.

mfw.melbourne.vic.gov.au/

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