The Covid-19 pandemic has killed off Fashion Weeks around the world, including Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia, normally held at this time every year. A new online portal linking global fashion buyers to the latest offerings by Australian designers, AFC Virtual, launched today on fashion buying platform ORDRE. It could make Australian Fashion Week redundant.
AFC Virtual on ORDRE
Today, the Australian Fashion Council launched AFC Virtual, an online portal within the global fashion buyers’ platform ORDRE. Founded by the architect of Australian Fashion Week, Simon Lock, ORDRE is described by him as providing “a level playing field for designers”. Lock developed ORDRE in 2015 in response to fashion buyers experiencing difficulties in attending all the fashion weeks around the world and the resulting frustrations of designers. Wholesale fashion buyers are able to view images and videos of the latest designer collections on the platform and then select and order.
While Australian Fashion Week has wowed the fashion world since 1992, due to the Corona Virus pandemic, this year’s Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia was cancelled. With AFC Virtual launching today, it’s possible that we won’t see the return of Fashion Week at all.
Sydney’s Fashion Week has seen a steady decline of patronage since Locke’s departure in 2014. Attendances in 2019 appeared to be the lowest ever. It was already becoming evident that Australian Fashion Week may have run its course.
Connecting designers to international wholesale buyers can now happen far more efficiently through AFC Virtual.
Amongst the first Australian designers to take up the opportunity offered by ORDRE were bassike, Camilla and Marc, Christopher Esber, Dion Lee, Ellery, Ginger & Smart, Josh Goot, Khalo, Lover, Toni Maticevski, Strateas Carlucci and Zimmerman.
With space for emerging designers as well as first-tier fashion labels, ORDRE is also making it easier for smaller labels to get in front of key buyers.
The new Australian designers added to AFC Virtual in ORDRE are Autark, Mastani, Ngali, Nico, Porcelain, P.E Nation, Third Form, West 14th, and X Nihilo. National Designer Award Winner 2020 Esse Studios will be added shortly, along with Ahisma Collective, Aje, Et Cetera Woman, and Ginger & Smart.
While Covid-19 killed off this year’s key fashion events around the world, it looks like they may have been superceded by ORDRE. That means, sadly, that the street style scene that accompanies every fashion festival in the world may also be no more.