Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia (MBFWA) has come and gone and from an industry insider’s perspective (I work in Public Relations for my daily grind) I could sense a shift in how designers, buyers, fashion media and publicists were looking at the future of our industry – this follows the news of the Swedish Fashion Council cancelling Stockholm Fashion Week to create a new platform that mirrors sustainability goals. This prompted me to question what the role of MBFWA will have in the future and how designers can adapt to the changing fashion industry.
To answer this question, I sought out emerging fashion designers who are building their businesses on conscious foundations to gain insights as to what they think is important for the future of the Australian fashion industry.
William Drury of WILLIAM ÉDOUARD
“I believe that the future of the Australian fashion industry must, at its core, embrace transparent, sustainably driven and environmentally accountable business practices from conception to creation. Moreover, the slow fashion movement should be culturally incentivised as a means of encouraging the production of durable, high quality products that we can take pride in both aesthetically and ethically.
In addition to this, the incorporation of ethical production standards and sourcing of wholly recyclable materials in as many, if not all, aspects of the design and production process should be the cornerstone of progressively ethical and environmentally conscious businesses in the Australian fashion industry both present and future.”
Rebekah Delaney of BASK CAPSULE
“The current Australian fashion industry feels to be in the midst of radical change, both in the way labels are designing and producing, and in the ways consumers are engaging with fashion.
It is incredibly important to nurture the increasing ethical and sustainability consciousness of consumers by encouraging transparency in all aspects of the industry. This will involve greater inclusivity in design, the use of environmentally sensitive materials in production, high ethical manufacturing standards and accountability for volume produced.
On the other side of this is the importance of encouraging thoughtful consumption of fashion. We need to break the cycle of disposable fashion and commit to a shift towards well-considered and well-worn wardrobes.
By encouraging this dialogue between producers and consumers, we can begin to shift towards a more harmonious fashion industry. One in which labels are making high quality garments that are both a positive contribution to each step of the supply chain and are cherished by the wearer for years to come.”
Sophia McMahon of Autark
“I see open-minded collaboration as critically important for the future of our fashion industry. We are lucky enough to have some wonderful minds as well as unique design perspectives here in Australia, and I have seen that when these forces come together to address issues such as circularity, sustainability, local production and ethics in the industry, some truly inspirational developments can happen.
Focussing on creating more forward thinking alternatives to the traditional industry approaches of sourcing, production and sales, and sharing this knowledge with industry members as well as consumers will, I feel, give the Australian fashion industry longevity to continue to continue its fun, irreverent take on effortless style.”
Tom Osborne of Spirit Natural Clothing
“The fashion industry is a microcosm for the Australian and global economies as a whole. As consumers remember and realise more and more that we as humans are a part of nature and not separate from it – it is our job in the positions of designers, brand owners and all the others that take part in creating a product to continue to innovate towards deeper sustainable outcomes.
I think competition in sustainable innovation is the most important thing for the future of the Australian fashion industry. The more designers and brands are out there competing to create products that are more in balance with the environment – the more this message will grow exponentially as we collectively work towards a truly sustainable future.
So get out there, look ahead, and think about how you can do better – I believe the market will reward you for it!
Shannyn Lorkin of Revel Knitwear
“I’d love to see the fashion industry focus more on who is behind the clothes. I love the idea that designers are celebrated more and embraced as much as influencers and that Australia can look deeper within the industry at emerging creatives.
Creating a brand is one of the most challenging things I’ve done. I would love there to be more funding available to support businesses aiming to produce locally, more support within our country for local fashion businesses to see our industry thrive.”
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Feature image Autark.