9 ways to enjoy VAMFF without attending a runway

Image via J NOT JAY
Words by Bianca O’Neil

Save the date.

For most, the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival often means Instagramming glamorous outfits and spotting front-row starlets. But in their obsession with catwalks, these show-goers may be missing out on all the fun to be had off-site.

Here are our top nine VAMFF events that aren’t runways.

Nocturnal x VAMFF

Melbourne Museum’s after hours party returns for a special edition in collaboration with VAMFF, to celebrate the Fashion Redux exhibition (more on that later). The Avalanches (performing a DJ set) will join Kaiit, Chela and more for a late night boogie among the dinosaur bones.

Melbourne Museum
Friday March 1, 7pm – 11pm
Tickets here

Tommy Collins x VAMFF

Tommy Collins, by The Atlantic Group, is the official catering partner for VAMFF this year – you’ll see its delicious fare in the Mercedes-Benz Star Lounge, Virgin Australia Runway Bar, and The Plaza. However, if you’re looking for a sit-down appreciation of its crafted menus, try the City of Stonnington High Tea, where a decadent menu will accompany the best in fashion.

Malvern Town Hall
Saturday March 9, 11am – 1pm and 2.30 – 4.30pm
Tickets here

The Australian Fashion Summit (AFS)

This year, VAMFF is challenging everyone to think big with its theme ‘Power to the Dreamers’. The manifestation of this idea is The Australian Fashion Summit, which features a schedule of over 20 speakers this year. The program promises to encourage festival-goers to do extraordinary things, pave their own paths and empower others through fashion.

The Deakin Edge Theatre
Friday March 8, 10am – 6pm
Tickets here

International Women’s Day Breakfast

If 2018 was the year of the woman, what could 2019 be? Join a panel of inspiring speakers for a thought-provoking breakfast to celebrate International Women’s Day. Hosted by Nicky Briger, and joined by Miranda Tapsell and Camilla Franks, these women will discuss equality, inclusion and empowerment – and probably a little bit of fashion too.

Zinc, Federation Square
Friday March 8, 8am – 10am
Tickets here


Encompassing the aforementioned Australian Fashion Summit and International Women’s Day Breakfast, the VAMFF Ideas schedule also includes some unique and interesting independent events. From a discussion about modern slavery and your ethical supply chain, to discovering the path to digital transformation for fashion brands, there’s plenty here to inspire and educate.

Various dates and times
Head here for more info

Fashion Redux

There’s a really strong arts program this year in conjunction with VAMFF’s famous runways. And Fashion Redux is the first one that’s worth a look. Housed at the Melbourne Museum, you’ll see a collection of contemporary collaborators who have reinterpreted styles from the past to create an entirely new vision for the future.

Melbourne Museum
Friday March 1 – Sunday March 31, 10am – 5pm
Tickets included with museum entry

Gorman: Ten Years of Collaborating

Another must-see on the VAMFF arts program is a special Gorman exhibit at the Heidi Museum of Modern Art. This two-week pop up will look back on 10 years of the iconic Melbourne brand, as well as the talented textile designers that have helped cement the Gorman aesthetic.

Heidi Museum of Modern Art
Saturday March 2 – Sunday March 17, 10am  – 5pm (closed Mondays)
Tickets included with museum entry 

Learn to Sew at Thread Den

It’s one thing to watch fabulous clothes down the runway, and it’s another thing entirely to have a hand in creating something yourself. If VAMFF has inspired you to take a crack at whipping your own design up, try this fun three-week course at Thread Den.

Thread Den, Fitzroy
Wednesday March 6 – Sunday March 10, 6pm
Tickets here

The Times of Bill Cunningham

One of the greatest fashion photographers of all time, Bill Cunningham, delivered thousands of real-style images from the streets of New York to fashion lovers all over the world. See this documentary, featuring never-before-seen images and a recently unearthed interview, at ACMI.

Saturday March 9 and Sunday March 10
Tickets here

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