Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week is no more, at least by name. Today, IMG and Australian financial tech giant Afterpay has announced that they are taking the reins as new title sponsor of the pivotal event in the national fashion calendar.
Scheduled for 31 May through to 4 June 2021, Australian designers will showcase their Resort 2022 collections for Afterpay Australian Fashion Week (AAFW), to be hosted at Sydney’s Carriageworks and other venues around the city. In a not so surprising move, given the decisions made by other fashion weeks around the globe, AAFW will combine live and digital formats for the new post-COVID terrain.
Afterpay has developed significant popularity in the last few years, particularly with young consumers, as a “buy now, pay later” finance app. The Australian company has garnered near-stratospheric popularity at home and overseas including in the United States, the United Kingdom, and New Zealand, with the company’s in-store and online options geared towards addressing the fluctuating financial needs of the young. Afterpay is so popular in fact, that the company’s estimated revenue is an impressive $251.6 million as of June 2019.
AAFW is a clever move for fashion week and the future of fashion in Australia, particularly in response to shifting ideals and emerging public consciousness about who can access the fashion industry and how they go about it. This new title-takeover for fashion week perhaps signals a move towards a more inclusive, less intimidating vehicle to engage younger demographics, activating a new audience that may have been discouraged by the long-standing prestige of the brand association with Mercedes-Benz.
Speaking to ragtrader, Afterpay’s co-founder Nick Molnar added that “since our inception, Afterpay has had an unwavering commitment to helping Australian brands and designers prosper both in Australia and on the international stage”. Undoubtedly this injection of fresh perspective with promises of an inclusive platform for emerging designers and brands, addresses the great need for “fresh blood” and a revamp of the Australian fashion industry, a topic touched on in last week’s post.
Nevertheless, the announcement seems to be a step in the right direction for Australian fashion. While some will mourn the death of the cultural institution of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, a widely loved icon of the calendar, AAFW could surely be catalyst for a long-awaited new dawn of Australian fashion at home and on the global stage.
Images Sourced via Afterpay
This article was originally published on The Fashion Graduate www.thefashiongraduate.com
Rachel Gallagher is a freelance writer and model living in Sydney, Australia. She has competed in international pageants and modelled in the US and China, and writes for her blog The Fashion Graduate. Rachel has a Bachelor of Teaching, a Bachelor of Arts, a Master of Education (Educational Leadership and Management), and is currently completing studies in fashion business.