After two years of on-again, off-again action, Afterpay Australian Fashion Week (AAFW) officially returned for 2022.
There are always aspects of fashion week that tickle our fancy and get people talking (like the glorious street style), but as always, we attended the biggest week on the fashion calendar with open minds and curious eyes.
The event ran from May 9 – 13 and marked many unforgettable firsts — the first adaptive fashion runway, the first metaverse fashion show and the first curve runway, to name a few.
But it's not just these big firsts that people are excited about. Ahead, catch up on the talking points and events that had everyone talking, on, off and around the runways.
1. Fashion Week Kicked Off With A Welcome To Country
Opening with a Welcome To Country produced by First Nations Fashion + Design, audience members were able to experience the ancient practice of a smoking ceremony, which was followed by a performance with several Indigenous dancers.
2. Showgoers Saw A Futuristic Metaverse Fashion Show
The three-minute digital showcase featured eight virtual avatar models in a fantasy world. Interestingly enough, the pieces are not only available to buy as an NFT, but also as made-to-order physical pieces.
3. Bec + Bridge Celebrated 21 Years
Australian label Bec + Bridge celebrated 21 years by closing Day 1 of Australian Fashion Week with its much-anticipated show. The anniversary collection married silhouettes from the Bec + Bridge archives with nostalgic throwbacks from the brand’s late ‘90s roots.
In a tribute to that era and the fashion that shaped the youth of designers of Bec Cooper and Bridget Yorston, low-slung skirts, silk barrettes and oversized blazers were key, embellished with sequins, beading and mesh detailing.
4. The Brands Who Got Casting Right
When it comes to showcasing true diversity on the runway, Australian Fashion Week has notoriously fallen short. After increasing demand for more inclusive casting — which notably came to a head last year when a number of high profile show-goers, including Kate Wasley, spoke out about the lack of representation — we were eager to see who stepped up this year.
Gary Bigeni, Bondi Born and Erik Yvon got it right. All three shows presented a refreshing lineup representative of the real women who wear or want to wear these brands. More of this please!
5. We Saw The First-Ever Curve Edit
In an Australian Fashion Week first, a show dedicated to curve fashion was included on the official schedule. The runway featured six designers who are leading the plus size sector of the fashion industry along with a slew of the country's top curve models, including runway veteran Robyn Lawley who made a special trip back to Sydney for the event.
"We want to ensure that models, whose sizing is reflective of over 80% of Australian women, have the opportunity to walk the runway and show that women of every size deserve to be considered and embraced as a forceful and financial demographic in mainstream fashion," said Bella Management founder Chelsea Bonner.
6. We Also Saw Australia's First Adaptive Fashion Show
In another first, we saw a dedicated adaptive fashion runway show at Australian Fashion Week. Jam the Label and Christina Stephens - part of the Adaptive Clothing Collective - presented fashion forward collections designed specifically for people living with a physical disability.
Not only was the much-anticipated event a celebration of the vibrant disabled community, but it also marked a new era for adaptive fashion. The atmosphere was goosebump-inducing!
7. Fashion Week To Close With Epic First Nations Fashion + Design Show
The First Nations Fashion show by First Nations Fashion and Design will mark the end of fashion week on May 13 in what is tipped to be a blockbuster showcase.
Following on from the success of last year's debut event, the runway show is being produced, styled, modelled and staffed backstage by an all-Indigenous cast and crew, and will be followed up with an unforgettable party on the runway.