‘Sydney Australia now joins Milan, Paris, London, New York and Tokyo as part of the international fashion circuit and becomes a focus for the whole industry in the Asia-Pacific region.’
Simon P Lock, founder of Australian Fashion Week, in the first official program
Wayne Cooper’s label BRAVE kicked off the first Australian Fashion Week at Sydney’s Fox Studios in 1996, when just the idea of a week of Australian fashion seemed brave. At the time the local industry was crumbling in the wake of lowered import tariffs and competition from Asia. Australia was importing $1.6 billion worth of clothing and exporting only $270 million. Australian designers had few opportunities to showcase their collections and limited access to overseas markets.
In 1995 entrepreneur Simon P Lock took the audacious step of establishing a Sydney-based fashion week to put the Australian industry on the global fashion circuit. Australian Fashion Week quickly became a mainstay of the fashion calendar. Today the event has an expanded focus on the Asia Pacific region and is reaching audiences beyond the industry through the Rosemount Sydney Fashion Festival. Australian designers are experiencing unprecedented interest in their work – both at home and abroad – which would be inconceivable without the platform of Fashion Week.
Take a look at some of the clothes that have captured the attention of media, buyers and the public over the past 15 years of Fashion Week.