The Powerhouse Museum on the sidelines of the Microcars exhibition for the fashion week fashion show

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“The Powerhouse has a rich history of supporting Australian fashion from generation to generation. From Jenny Kee to Born Romance – and today the future face of the industry, Jordan Gogos.”

Opposition arts spokesman Walt Secord said NSW taxpayers have a right to know how their money is being spent and whether they are getting value for money.

Secord pointed to events in 2018 when the former director of Powerhouse stepped down amid revelations that his inaugural fashion ball, so-called Sydney’s answer to New York’s Met Gala, was a big loss maker.

“At every stage and at every step involving the Electric Power Generation Museum, we see this government pouring out cash in all directions,” he said.

But Franklin says the museum is engaging as part of its job of supporting the creative industry and a new generation of designers – in particular, young, emerging artists from the south of Sydney, whose creative practice celebrates inclusivity, diversity and community.


The costs associated with the event are absorbed into the Powerhouse’s existing operating budget. The museum helped with the production elements of the runway show, but no collaborators were paid by Powerhouse as part of the event.

The Gogos label ISG is based in the Harwood building at Powerhouse Ultimo, one of more than 20 brands offering studio workspaces in museums to collaborate with staff and “deliver public research and programming results”.

Consultant and museum trustee Kylie Winkworth said museums should not hand over taxpayer-funded resources to unknown designers.

“There is a difference between a designer holding a parade at a cultural venue like the NSW Art Gallery under the terms of a regular venue lease, and what the Powerhouse Museum does, which puts all of the institution’s resources behind one young designer, to actually develop and produce their parade for the invited audience is small,” he said.


Former fashion editor and Powerhouse trustee Kellie Hush said collaborations with cultural institutions were common around the world and at Fashion Week this week, with off-site shows staged at the Ken Done Gallery, Art Gallery of NSW and the Sydney Opera House.

“Because it’s an art form, a form of artistic expression, and a cultural expression and it captures time and place, that’s why fashion is so important if you look at history,” he said. “Coco Chanel makes ready-to-wear but John Gaultier makes art.”

The Gogos collection will be on display at the museum over the next 12 months and will also be featured in touring exhibitions.

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