A programmer’s guide to a weekend at PayPal Melbourne Fashion Festival



“Whether or not you’re into fashion, every person has a sense of style to some degree. Like food, fashion is a way of connecting with one another and to ourselves.”

Melbourne fashion fiends, brace yourselves. PayPal Melbourne Fashion Festival (PayPal MFF) is just days away, and the program is packed with more runways, panels and events than ever before. 

Taking over the city from March 3 to 12, the festival is all about celebrating the Australian fashion industry’s best and brightest. With such a wide array of talent on show and so many things to see and do, it can be overwhelming to plan your schedule. 

Looking for more fashion news and features? Head to our Fashion section.

We enlisted the help of PayPal MFF’s Programming Executive, Savannah Anand-Sobti, to get the lowdown on what this year’s festival has to offer and how to make the most out of your time in the city. 

What is your role with MFF and what does it involve?

I am the Programming Executive at PayPal MFF. For the 2022 Festival, I’m programming the Independent Program and the Independent Runway, as well as the Fashion Film Award, Pavilion and Fashion Weekend events. Because the word ‘programmer’ is often associated with coding, I sometimes say I’m an ‘event planner’ as an easy explanation, but that’s not quite right.

Essentially, I curate who’s involved in the Program, and reach out to creative and fab people to see if they’d like to run an activity during the Festival. Plus a whole lot of fun things like admin (woo, so many Excel spreadsheets)! Sarcasm aside, I love this job and I’m stoked to have found something I enjoy doing – and am quite good at most days.

What’s new or different about this year’s program compared to previous years?

For the 2022 Festival, PayPal MFF partnered with Collingwood Yards to create the Independent Program. Collingwood Yards will be a hub for lots of fab activities from March 10 to 12. There are so many fantastic tenants in the Arts Precinct participating this year, like Agency, Centre for Projection Art, West Space, Arts Project, Runner Up, The Social Studio, Bookshop by Uro, Tantri Mustika Ceramics, Kate Beynon, Stay Soft Studio and Pamela Kleemann-Passi.

The Independent Runway, presented by Fashion Journal, will also be held at Collingwood Yards. It features so many great designers who, to me, really reflect the Australian and New Zealand fashion scene I know and love. The Festival Pavilion at Fed Square is new, too! It’s adjacent to ACMI, where a lot of the PayPal MFF Runways will be.

Are there any events you’re particularly excited about? 

We’ve just released the Pavilion Program, and most of those events are free to attend! Some of my personal panel event highlights are:

Why should people attend PayPal MFF events?

Whether or not you’re into fashion, every person has a sense of style to some degree. Like food, fashion is a way of connecting with one another and to ourselves. There are so many different elements covered in the Festival, including business, art, ideas, sustainability and technology. I’d like to think there’s something for everyone!

I also think we should all support the fashion industry in Australia and all the incredibly hard-working people behind the scenes and the city itself after a couple of crappy years.

Is there an unspoken dress code for PayPal MFF events? 

There probably is, but I say ignore it and just do you. That’s a way better look!

What other Melbourne activities would you suggest for people looking to make a day out of attending PayPal MFF? 

  • Have a bougie snack at Embla
  • Enjoy an iced matcha at Hikari
  • Make life 10 times better with a 20-minute neck and shoulders massage from Max Therapy
  • A boat down the Yarra seems to be the fun and hot thing to do at the mo’
  • Treat yourself to a shopping spree at Daiso
  • Check out the deals and activations in CBD stores as a part of PayPal MFF Fashion Weekend from March 4 to 6
  • Hit up Reina for gorgeous vintage or Shifting Worlds for pretty things
  • Get yourself some hair clips from the Melbourne Central Basement shops
  • Stroll from the Festival Pavilion into NGV International
  • Lay down in Fitzroy gardens and think about all the nice things you did and saw

Check out the full PayPal MFF program here

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