While another round of shows were only put to bed in mid-March, weary editors might not like the news that the so-called fashion month – when they watch shows in New York, London, Milan and Paris – could last even longer in the future.
But the four big fashion cities are no longer quite as rock-solid as they once were. Fashion weeks across the globe, from Cambodia to Columbia, are exposing local designs to an international audience. As Vice's recent Fashion Week Internationale series shows, everyone, everywhere, wants a piece of the pie.
While, say, Islamabad's is still in its infancy, one of the more established events could feasibly become the world's fifth-biggest fashion week. Australia Fashion Week, which starts on 8 April in Sydney, is a serious contender. Once seen as the place to find the latest in swimwear, Australian designers are increasingly attracting attention for clothes that can be worn off the beach. Names to look out for include new talent Christopher Esber who makes razor-sharp ready-to-wear, Dion Lee (who also shows at London fashion week) and vibrant print maestros Romance Was Born. "When it launched in 1996, it was sex on legs – white leather, cut-away swimsuits," says Edwina McCann, the editor-in-chief of Australian Vogue. "Now it's much more sophisticated."
While these labels are on track to follow the international success of Australian brands such as Richard Nicoll, Antipodium and Josh Goot, global brands are moving in. Asos launched its Australia site in 2011, and the country is now the clothing site's second largest market . "We are currently selling something every six seconds to an Australian customer, which amounts to around four jumbo jets' worth of product being flown to Australia each week," says Sally Anne Newson, Australia country manager for Asos.
This demand may also be down to the fact that Australia's economy came through the global financial crisis relatively unscathed. Growth of 0.6% was reported in the last quarter of 2012, and it was recently claimed that the country had not been in recession for 21 years. Jane Jasper, a former stylist, launched her Sydney boutique Land's End in 2008 and counts Céline – a brand with four-figure pricetags as standard – as a bestseller. "The strong Australian dollar has increased the luxury market here" she says.
And it's not just high fashion. Along with Asos, Whistles intend to expand there too. Speaking to The Business of Fashion last year, the company's CEO Jane Shepherdson namechecked Australia as "a huge market for us … It just seems to keep on growing."
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