MBFWS: Love for art, design or money-making?

By Ria Eviee – A quirky dreaming avant-garde stylist who wants to inspire others through music, art and food.

Earlier this year I had the most amazing opportunity to go to the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Sydney (MBFWS) and it’s taken me a good month or so to think about how I was going to write about this event.

My expectations of the fashion show weekend were just like any other girl or guy who loves fashion. This, I thought, was an event truly fit for a fashion queen or king. I imagined all inside the MBFWS would be amazing and there for the taking…

The entrance was opened by a high glass door trimmed with intense white steel. As you approached closer, you could see a vibrant multi-coloured floral mural on the side wall that looked as though it was waving at you and beckoning you to come inside. My senses were taken in by the musky rose that filled the area, it smelt like you had walked into a freshly picked bed of roses.

My first impressions? WOW!

But wait, this was just the beginning.

As I walked around I realised there actually wasn’t much to show. Once you entered, on the right you had a high-matted concierge ticketing booth. Then walking 20 metres on you would be standing in between the tea garden on the left and an Oyster Bay pop up (I think it was Oyster Bay, I don’t really remember) on the right. Directly above me was the Mac studio which was empty and full of boxes and on the left was an entrance to a sitting fit for 50 odd people to listen to hair stylists, make-up artists and designers.

That was it… The grand expectations of MBFWS were out the door for me. I do have to mention there was another area cut off by stern-looking security guards but you had to pay double for access. In the end I guess you just have to pay your way in this world of fashion and it got me thinking: What is the true meaning of fashion week?

According to Wikipedia, the MBFWS is about “showcasing the latest season collection from Australian and Asia Pacific Ocean. It is intended for retail buyers to buy forthcoming spring/summer collections”.

After going to the runway show the idea of having “season collections intended for retail” had minimal weight upon me. The majority of the designs (in my opinion) could not be considered as retail material.
Besides the collections of a couple of designers which had some real opportunities for occupancy in peoples’ wardrobes, the chances for the rest were zilch. The prices for these outfits were undoubtedly fit only for queens and kings and not for ordinary people.

Going to fashion week made me realise one thing: fashion has really become focused on ‘industry’ – the money-making machine. Did you know in May 2016, the retail industry earnings in Australia were $25,013.09 million.

Whatever happened to the smaller Australian designers who make handmade collections? How are they able to showcase their intrinsic artistic designs and compete with the commercial players in a highly competitive industry?

The MBFWS displayed the exclusivity of fashion shows. Small Australian designers do not get the same kind of opportunity to present their unique designs that express and expose them and their style.

Going to the MBFWS has made me more conscious of the designers I support. Do I want to support a commercial industry or do I want to help small boutique designers?

SO… I challenge you – before buying any clothes, shoes or accessories, think about who or what you are supporting. Are you choosing to support a person or an industry?


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