By Margretta Sowah

Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia is a much sought after event on the global fashion calendar. Like all Fashion Week events it delivers the Glits & Glamour – and the stresses that go with it and not just the usual behind-the-scenes pressure. With seamstresses sewing for days on end and the fashion lovers charging to train their eyes for the proverbial delight that is the Ready-To-Wear runway show.

It’s business as usual. Or is it? We learnt this year many of the international buyers were not present at the show but were watching and in constant communication with the designers via social media. Is this the new approach to bringing fashion to the masses? It seems costs are a critical issue to consider, not just for the designers but the buyers and sellers of the newest trends, ready to hit the streets.

Since its conception in 1996, Australia is trying to keep its wits and wonder within the ever-changing world of hemispheric seasonality. Fashion is a culture; a hegemony with a very strict passport to enter. Is it becoming a reunion for the key players? A home-coming dance or prom that every year is privy to its alumni? Instant gratification is poorly referenced in the reality of its purpose. The digital age is more about the share-ability than the buy-ability. Even the traditional media (glossy magazines and papers) are finding it a new platform to attract their readers. Bloggers are creating the new media platforms… they deliver the looks/styles to their followers instantaneously.

Designers need media to build awareness. They need to reach the consumers however they firstly need to reach the buyers. Where do we draw a line when commercial revenue for the validity of these brands (and their shareholders) is not being assessed to the marketing mix of a show? Is the investment to attend a show worthwhile?

Have the Fashion week runway shows become a production line? Has it become a conveyer belt changing the pace of Fashion globally? This sounds like a hard truth to swallow. While the shows are the theatrics of a designers’ craft (designers know that to do well you must show in all significant events such as Mercedes Benz Fashion Week). Not only is this a fact but there are many add on costs. Styling needs to be flawless by presenting a unique proposition to entice the consumer.

As everyone knows, social media offers an instantaneous link to the consumer. Connecting designers to buyers and consumers. It’s not surprising to see everyone on their phones. Social media in the lens of the global business sphere is the most influential currency for the new age. As a last year Fashion Marketing student at Raffles and being privy to our show at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, I found it very evident that the instant visual effect of the event is the greatest marketing tool – especially for up and coming designers. Their collection is easily and readily accessible to Buyers.

Fashion is a fast-paced environment that knows little sleep or respite. It is the throne of instagram that keeps us hungry for the image. If Pixie Curtis, a three year old (who has 105k followers and counting) can attend a Toni Maticevski show and influence on Instagram that says a lot about the importance of visual gratification. The work of Public Relations is becoming just as pertinent as the journalist (Fashion or otherwise) reporting the show.

Will other fashion heavyweights jump into these digital marketing waters? Who knows. There’s a lot of new ground that will be highlighted through savvy business opportunities and utilise what is becoming a force of its own – Social Media.

As for the Australian Fashion Week, it’s hard to miss something if it doesn’t leave and with Social Media, it’s more about capturing and celebrating talent than anything else.
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