Fashion designers from the Land Down Under are looking to climb the ranks in the American market. Over the course of last week, the Australian Fashion Chamber (AFC) hosted showroom previews of six emerging talents to members of the U.S. press, big-chain department stores and luxury boutiques at a converted space in New York City. The firms that participated had varying objectives in mind and were at different stages in their businesses, but all were unified in the understanding that now is the right time to expand their operations and make their mark outside of their home nation.
“We’re in an Australian moment,” said Courtney Miller, the AFC’s general manager who oversees the international affairs and abroad programs. “I’m probably a little bit biased, but I think we’re stronger than we’ve ever been. We’ve got more successful brands that are globally attractive.”
Indeed, Australian labels like Zimmermann, Dion Lee and Ellery have got their footing in the U.S., selling at major retailers and dressing high-profile personalities. They stage their runway shows at New York or Paris Fashion Weeks, and receive some degree of recognition from the global fashion community. But overall, burgeoning Australian brands do not attract the same ballyhoo as others from, say, New York or London—a facet that the AFC seeks to rectify.
Modeled after the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) and the British Fashion Council (BFC), the three-year-old AFC aims to expand the nation’s fashion profile and, as Miller points out, “help brands run sustainable, long-term businesses.” With last week’s inaugural showcase in New York, where the six firms presented their Resort 2018 collections, the institution made the case for the talent pool in Australia, and how they are worthy of worldwide distribution.
Erika Long/Australian Fashion Chamber
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