20. January 2022
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Inside the fashion festival that’s breaking borders – and coming to Fed Square in March

inside-the-fashion-festival-that’s-breaking-borders-–-and-coming-to-fed-square-in-march

Inside the fashion festival that’s breaking borders – and coming to Fed Square in March

Joining the revival of padded shoulders, mini-skirts and catsuits as additional proof that tendencies come in cycles is right this moment’s program launch of the Melbourne Fashion Festival. Nearly two years in the past the company woes of Virgin Australia left the public-focused occasion and not using a naming sponsor whereas COVID-19 outbreaks had it dodging closure, however now the collection of runway exhibits, seminars and exhibitions returns in March, greater than bralettes and bike shorts.

“We managed to keep going throughout COVID-19, although we did close early in 2020 and there were restrictions, but we used our learnings from this challenging time to create a stronger mission statement and fresh approach,” mentioned MFF chief govt Graeme Lewsey.

Designer Jackie Wu from gender-inclusive label Wackie Ju, model Brendon Mayanja and Melbourne Fashion Festival chief executive Graeme Lewsey.

Designer Jackie Wu from gender-inclusive label Wackie Ju, mannequin Brendon Mayanja and Melbourne Fashion Festival chief govt Graeme Lewsey.Credit:Jason South

The 2022 mission is “to unite Australia through fashion” which has already attracted on-line fee firm PayPal as the new naming sponsor, together with the inevitable questions of whether or not the Melbourne occasion is straying throughout the border into the Sydney stomping floor of Australian Fashion Week, sponsored by Afterpay.

“Our designers don’t just sit in Melbourne,” Lewsey mentioned. “Digital runways and shopping have expanded their audience nationally and globally. There’s no doubt that we are keen to continue to share what Melbourne is famous for and fashion is part of that, along with sport and food, but we are turning up the volume by embracing, considering and uniting Australia. This is being done through programs considering everyone in our community. That’s how we unite.”

For Lewsey, getting into his eleventh yr as artistic director, larger unity means larger range. The festival has challenged notions of ableism, since internet hosting bilateral amputee Aimee Mullins in 2012, and measurement with ambassadors Ashley Graham (2019) and Celeste Barber (2020). Now it’s rising its dedication to Indigenous fashion, which stretches again to the showcase of the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair in 2016 and gender range, which was final highlighted by transgender mannequin Andreja Pejic on the runway in 2015.

Model Nathan McGuire will consult to the First Nations Fashion Industry Pathways Program for the Melbourne Fashion Festival; Celeste Barber on the runway in 2020; transgender model Andreja Pejic who was the festival’s special guest in 2015.

Model Nathan McGuire will seek the advice of to the First Nations Fashion Industry Pathways Program for the Melbourne Fashion Festival; Celeste Barber on the runway in 2020; transgender mannequin Andreja Pejic who was the festival’s particular visitor in 2015.Credit:Getty, Eddie Jim

Model and Whadjuk Noongar man Nathan McGuire will symbolize a First Nations Fashion Industry Pathways Program, and Vogue will sponsor a First Nations runway present. “It is about making sure that all groups are in key roles throughout our industry, around the country. Everyone is a part of the process, not just the end result that you see on the runway.”

Gender range shall be entrance, centre and probably sideways at the Collingwood Yards, which is the new house of the festival’s upgraded Independent Program. Along with exhibitions and talks, the program features a runway present that includes artist Jackie Wu’s non-binary label Wackie Ju.

“As a queer person of colour I have struggled to see my identity represented in the fashion community,” mentioned Wu, who graduated from RMIT’s fashion program two years in the past. “There’s definitely a lot of emerging queer fashion designers that have been coming up in recent years. It’s flourishing internationally, look at the success of labels like Telfar, but in Australia it needs the support of a fashion authority such as this festival.”

The Independent Program sits alongside the group runway exhibits, often staged at the Royal Exhibition Building however sidelined by the historic construction’s conscription as a vaccination centre. Major occasions shall be primarily based round Federation Square from March 3-12.

“The silver lining of the pandemic is that it has made us be more creative,” Lewsey mentioned. “We reached the height of major runway shows with our celebration of Carla Zampatti in 2019, but now we are moving towards bespoke, smaller events.

The Carla Zampatti Gala Runway at Melbourne Fashion Festival 2019. The show received a standing ovation.

The Carla Zampatti Gala Runway at Melbourne Fashion Festival 2019. The show received a standing ovation. Credit:Lucas Dawson

“Group shows will still happen, but we are focused on events that generate mass intimacy. That is the future, as long as it’s for everyone.”

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