Six optimistic trends from Australian Fashion Week 2021
It might be winter over here but fun and energy still reign.
After a Covid-induced hiatus, there was a palpable buzz around the physical return of Australian Fashion Week this year. Taking the break to recharge and refocus, AAFW awoke from its beauty sleep with a new format, new Sydney locations, new designers and models, a new pledge to support Indigenous Australian designers and, for the first time in its 25 year history, wider accessibility to the event.
With a schedule including almost 50 shows, industry talks, events and parties, it was a lot to take in, regardless of whether you were streaming from your bed or there IRL. Amongst the fresh faces debuting on the runway, iconic moments from old favourites and the hot new designers, here we reflect on the key themes and trends that emerged over a week that highlighted the resilience and energy of our industry.
Life’s a beach
You know it’s been an interesting year when you’ve spent most of it wearing pyjamas. Only a few months ago it felt like we might be living in tracksuits for the rest of our lives, but as we emerge from lockdown and the great outdoors begin calling, it’s clearly time to get into our togs. Slow resortwear label COMMAS gave us reason to hope, taking us very literally to the beach, where models walked along the sandy shoreline of Tamarama Surf Lifesaving Club. Showing effortless swimwear you’d be happy to leave on all day, these pieces are the perfect evolution from our covid-comfy uniforms. Beyond this, Indigenous artist and RMIT graduate Grace Lilian Lee gave us the most beautiful green bodysuit we have ever seen. To the beach - now!
Happily ever after
Serving Cinderella realness, all of our Disney dreams came true at the Romance was Born show. Featuring a carousel, a thousand flowers and laser lights, the models looked more cupcake than person, adorned with candy sweet colours and embellishments. What’s more, each piece was made by hand using upcycled fabrics, a friendly reminder that we should never be boring and can look perfectly pretty in thrift.
Diamonds are a girl’s best trend
Fashion week was blingy, seriously blingy. Everywhere we looked there were sparkles, sequins, glitter and gemstones. Karla Spetic showed us how to do diamond realness without the actual diamonds. If you can’t afford the ring itself, why not wear it printed on a bib or a strappy dress?
A few moments of tranquillity were enjoyed by all. We took these opportunities to take a deep breath and realign. In through the nose and out through the mouth. These moments came in the form of a flowing white cut out dress at Christopher Esber, a perfect purple puff at Yousef Akbar, a shimmering silver jumpsuit by AARLI at the First Nations fashion design runway, and a dreamy cloud dress that blew past us at the Iordanes Spyridon Gogos show. These looks took us to another place and we don’t want to come back. Dreamy dressing is in.
Polish, poise and discipline. Our hats are off to RMIT alumni and winner of the 2019 Australian Fashion Foundation award, Amanda Nichols of Replica Project who played with archetypes and structured silhouettes. Go Iron your suit jacket and giddyup.
There were also a few, welcome, psychedelic moments during the week and Iordanes Spyridon Gogos’ colourful celebration and genuinely diverse show was definitely one of them. Whoever said that ‘blue and green shouldn’t be seen’ is fired. Every colour is in, and you should probably wear them all at once.