I went to Australian Fashion Week for the first time and this is what I learned

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Australian Fashion Week is our island home’s annual glamor festival, where our big cities come up with amazing eyeliner looks and lots of fast paced styles. As a lifestyle writer at Time Out Sydney (who also happens to be a serious fashion show rookie), I’m sent to all kinds of new events and happenings – but when I’m asked to go to my first runway show, it’s the only time I’ve ever been there. sent to an alternate universe.

Unfortunately, I came to work in the morning wearing a slightly dusty velvet jacket/cloak that I bought for seven Romanian Leu at a Soviet-era thrift store in the city of Sibu, Transylvania, in central Romania. While I usually enjoy looking like a general from 1987, as they say, I didn’t really, as they say, *feel alone* for a quick excursion to what is arguably Sydney’s most glamorous event of the year. Life can be very difficult.

As someone whose only exposure to the world of farrrrshion has been through watching Anne Hathaway get crushed by the ‘cerulean’ color by the incredibly beautiful Meryl Streep, the thought of actually sitting next to a runway in real life feels a little scary. Before playing around in Carriageworks, all I could think about was that I’d be spending my Tuesday afternoon in a giant room filled with exactly 456 Miranda Priestlys, all chanting in unison looking at me – “Flowers. For spring. Groundbreaking”, over and over again until I had no choice but to run to Redfern station screaming.

When I was asked to go to my first runway show, it was the only time I was sent to an alternate universe

Walking into Carriageworks, it feels as if someone has been transported to a strange new dimension, an alien planet, a metaverse – you name it whatever you like, but that’s not the real world. Influencers with perfectly styled and shiny hair tied carefree to rusty train tracks, gleaming from the inside out. People roamed ahead in fluro yellow suits that fit snugly on their heads, others walked straight ahead with aloof looks on their faces, their magenta and teal and monochromatic robes all flowing behind them like enchanted polyester blend wings.

It was magical, but also – a little scary.

I went to the St. Agni, an Australian brand that is all about minimalism, clean lines and strong androgynous silhouettes. Inside, everything was white and lit up with an innate glow like the moon. Fashionistas are very wealthy, to say the least. While many of them wore thick leather boots reminiscent of princes from sand dunesmany of them also wore some sort of elegant jewelry that made me think of silky unicorn hooves and the Palace of Versailles, circa 1777. You know – like, really classy.

The show is simple and artfully undone, with shimmering models in sheer slip dresses, structured blazers with intentional slits showing off their bare backs, and the occasional concoction of shimmering halter-bra tops. The beats pop, everyone looks perfect, and it’s clear that hundreds of hours of time, effort, and money have gone into making this moment happen – but I’m a little surprised at how the whole shebang is wrapped up in what feels like under ten years. minute.

It was short, but also very glamour

However, despite all the undeniable beauty of luxury, I was a little surprised by the skinnyness of some of the show’s runway models.

I know I know. It’s a story as old as time and consumerism itself, but to see people with so skinny frames idolized, en masse, in such a glossy public arena feels a little unsettling. I mean, it’s 2022 — and maybe I’m just a dumb millennial, but I think it signals that the toxic skeletal maelstrom of the early years is over and we no longer have to deny ourselves complex carbohydrates to value as humans. , or wearing cute clothes that make us feel sweet.

This show made me think otherwise.

Just to be clear, the human body comes in a variety of forms all of which are lawful and worthy of celebration, and it’s worth noting that the show did include a handful of people of color and some diverse body types. It’s awesome to look at, but there’s no denying that some walking people seem to embody the fashion stereotypes that have stuck with the gold standard for so long that we see them as the only ones in existence.

There’s nothing wrong with being thin, but there’s nothing wrong with simply presenting people who, by neglecting to represent the diverse people and experiences that make up our society, and, frankly, the consumer market.

There is of course the argument that neither of us should comment on another person’s body, and this is something I totally agree with. After all, these people are just doing what they do for a living, and blaming and shaming them for their appearance is simply not my intention. The problem here is not with the individuals themselves, but with the superstructure of power, money, and privilege that is forcing them into these painful corners – a force whose influence is so great that despite all the waves of positive change (of which there must be many), there remains a dangerous core that resolutely refuses to be shaken.

There’s nothing wrong with being thin, but there’s nothing wrong with only showing people who are

Nonetheless, Australian Fashion Week made some clear steps this year for more diverse inclusion – as seen in the groundbreaking Adaptive Fashion Show by labels JAM and Christina Stephens, and highlights from the Indigenous Fashion Project.tas well as a greater emphasis on sustainability across areas.

However, it remains evident that the fashion industry, as well as society as a whole, still has a way to go to reach that utopian sweet spot.

At the end of my day at Fashion Week, I got a free goodie bag that contained (among other fun things) a piece of glossy black material, lipstick a few shades too pale for my Middle Eastern lips, and a fancy jar full of powdered collagen. I left Carriageworks at my feet, excited for the opportunity to witness such a fascinating universe – but also filled with post-apocalyptic thoughts about expensive narcissism, visions of over-the-top beauty, and rampant overproduction, without any of this. things got all funny.

As usual, whenever we get too close to the magnetic eyes of Mordor of 21st century pop culture, no one will be able to give us all the answers.

I only know one thing for sure, and that is that I will probably never drink powdered collagen.

Everyone has a line.

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