How Fashion Week Is Different All Around the World
With Fashion Week Australia coming up next week, we can’t help but imagine what it will be like… What will the street style look like? Whose shows will blow us away this year? Which new designer will catch our attention? And along with all these thoughts swimming around in our heads, we also can’t help but wonder how Fashion Week Australia compares to other fashion weeks around the world.
Thankfully, we were able to reach out to fashion guru and INF / Network member Chloe Hill, who attended multiple fashion weeks this year for the inside scoop. To hear about how each fashion week differs, and which one is the best, keep scrolling to read the full Q&A.
Does each city’s fashion week feel different, or do they begin to all seem the same?
There are aspects of fashion week that remain unchanged city to city (the plain on-site show venues always feel as if you could be anywhere in the world), but the DNA of each city is very noticeable. From the people attending shows (serious minimalists in Sydney, or print-loving Milanese girls) to the designs shown on the runway, every city clearly stands out from the next.
Is there one fashion week in particular that stands out in your mind, or do you find that you gravitate more towards individual shows?
Without a doubt Milan. There is something so beautiful about the city and the people which shines through during fashion week. From taxi drivers to the sweets Nonnas on the tram, the whole city gets excited about fashion week. It’s a culture where they really take it seriously—it’s not frivolous, it’s a serious business and they care deeply about supporting it.
What is the excitement like surrounding fashion week in differing cities? Are some more enthusiastic than others? Are some more blasé?
Since New York is the first city in the circuit, there is a feeling of excitement surrounding the week. Everyone is fresh and ready for it!
After that, a lot of international editors skip London, so it has much more of a local feel and you really see the UK industry getting involved. I would say the enthusiasm is definitely still there.
Paris Fashion Week is such an institution and not such a novelty, so there’s more of an appreciation instead of excitement. Also everyone is so tired by the time it rolls around, so show-goers are quite mellow. Although, street style photographers are out in full force so that creates quite a manic atmosphere.
Milan is the one place where I feel there’s a genuine excitement, but maybe that’s just because I love it so much! I wish in Sydney there was more excitement surrounding Fashion Week Australia. Everyone gets way too serious when they should be having so much fun!
Do you think that fashion week street style varies from one city to the next?
No matter where you go, there is always a barrage of show-goers in the 'label of the moment'. On the last show circuit it was Balenciaga. Before that, everyone was wearing Vetements and Off White, and so on. That type of style remains the same around the world; but if you get past the people who are trying so hard and dig a little deeper, every city has amazing locals who have a style of their own that I feel represents the city. In Milan, there are so many amazing girls rocking Marni and Missoni like pros. In London, it is girls like Susie Bubble who really embrace emerging talent and actually wear their designs IRL. In Sydney, it’s the low key editors like Claudia Jukić and Monica Russell who pull off such beautiful, effortless outfits and I feel really stand out from the crowd.
When you were planning your outfits for different fashion weeks, did the location influence what you chose to wear?
To tell you the truth, it’s all about the weather! There is an element of dressing up a little more in Milan and in Paris where everyone is so chic. While in London and New York, a more casual outfit is fine. But overall, I’m just thinking about how many layers I’ll need to get through the day. Because I shoot backstage and sometimes on the street, I have to be practical.
What makes Fashion Week Australia different from the rest?
It feels fresh! There is so much new talent and only a handful of established designers, so the newbies have a chance to shine through. I love that!
Even though it’s (obviously) smaller than the big fashion weeks do you think that Fashion Week Australia still stands up to international cities in terms of design?
We don’t have big fashion houses like Gucci in Milan or Chanel in Paris, so of course we can't compare in that respect. But in terms of contemporary designers, we really stand out. Actually I have editors in all the different cities mention how much they love Australian designers. In Paris and London I’ve met so many Macgraw fans! And Lee Mathews is gaining a huge following overseas too. It’s really cool.
Did you attend Australian designers’ shows at other fashion weeks? What was that like?
Yes of course! Zimmermann is actually one of the biggest shows on the NYFW schedule. Everyone gets excited about it, and every street style photographer is outside. The production is next level: This season, they lined the entire show space with floral print, so it’s really cool to see what an influence they have. I always attend Dion Lee’s show too. He is so perfect for New York! His sleek designs feel so at home there. In fact, he’s a step ahead of most of the New York designers, in my opinion. They both make me so proud to be from this corner of the globe.
Being in other cities, could you get an idea of how the rest of the world considers Australian fashion?
Our designers are so highly regarded: There is such an excitement and an eagerness to find out about new labels from down under. Everyone I speak to perceives Australian fashion as fresh and innovative, which when they sit alongside international contemporary designers, is so true. Spending so much time overseas has really given me a new appreciation for our local talent.
Which fashion week did you enjoy most? Why?
You’ve probably already guessed… Milan! The labels are right up my alley, since I personally have such adoration for labels like Marco De Vincenzo and Vivetta. I also love their long-established brands such as Missoni and Marni. I feel so inspired and the content I leave with is so fun. Oh and PRADA. Need I say more?
What did you experience at an international Fashion Week that you hope to experience at Fashion Week Australia?
Locals representing local labels. I feel like girls in Sydney get swept up in wearing the latest international labels and forget what Fashion Week Australia is all about… supporting our local talent. So I’m interested to see what is happening outside the shows. I hope we can all make the most of this opportunity to show the world how beautiful our homegrown brands are!
Zimmermann Off-The-Shoulder Printed Linen and Silk-Blend Mini Dress ($2209)