Will This Runway Show Set the Tone for Fashion Week Australia?

New Zealand-based designer Kate Sylvester recently had a runway presentation at China Heights Gallery on April 5, and we can only hope that the tone set by the show will be a common one in future runway presentations. While the designs showcased were nothing short of stunning, the models wearing them were also notable for one important reason: This show was much more diverse than others we’ve seen in Australia so far. 

The designer's website describes her as “ever the subtle subversive” and this model lineup proves that she’s changing the scene in other ways beyond her designing. Just like her clothes are “eccentric, beautiful and intelligent”, the very same could be said of the entire production. The brand’s site shares: “We here at Kate Sylvester are proud to be conscious producers of fashion taking a mindful, considered approach to our garment production and business practice.”—so we couldn’t help but wonder how this mindful, conscious approach was reflected in the process of creating the show itself.

To get some insight, we spoke to the designer herself, and we couldn’t agree more with what she had to say. “The intention was to cast women who bring a certain energy and personality to the collection, representing a better reflection of the world we live in and the women who wear our clothing,” Sylvester shared. Though there’s no denying that runways have become more diverse over the years, we still have a long way to go, and to see a designer like Sylvester making a conscious effort to represent a wider spectrum of women is refreshing.

“Runways have long been relatively homogenous with the focus being entirely on the clothing rather than the women wearing it,” according to Syvlester. “With the rise of social media and customers being able to engage and give feedback through social platforms, brands are now more aware than ever of the importance of celebrating diversity on their runways and the individuality and personality of the models wearing their clothing.” Though we’d hope designers would incorporate more diversity into their shows on their own conscious, there’s no denying that this social media feedback loop Sylvester mentions holds designers more accountable than they have been in the past. Whether it comes to diversity or sustainability, consumers are becoming a lot more woke; which we’re hoping can only incur positive change in the industry. Only time will tell, but if Sylvester’s presentation is any indication, we’re anticipating that Australian fashion is about to become more representative. This year’s fashion week will be a good litmus test, so hopefully it starts to reflect some shifting priorities in the industry. 

Click through the gallery below to see our favourite looks from Kate Sylvester's runway presentation.


Can't get enough Kate Sylvester? Shop the collections online at David Jones.

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