Melbourne Fashion Week Aims to Boost Post-Lockdown Economy

Alpha60 was one of the local brands on show at Melbourne Fashion Week. MFW.

Melbourne was hoping for a fashion-led recovery from its long winter of lockdown with its latest edition of Melbourne Fashion Week (MFW), which wrapped up Nov. 21.

More than 250 designers and 300 retailers took part in the event, which featured over 100 runway shows and events for consumers across the city’s centre.

“MFW is one of the key drivers to kick-start our bounce back from lockdown and get people back out in the city shopping and spending again,” said Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp.

“The celebration of fashion translates directly from runway to retail so it provides a critical boost for our local business owners who’ve been the hardest hit,” she added.

Over 100,000 people attended MFW with a further 50,000 participating in online forums as part of the event that last year brought $29 million into the city, according to City of Melbourne research using post-event data from event attendees and partners.

This year’s event was even more important for Melbourne’s economic fortunes after Australia’s second largest city emerged from its sixth lockdown on Oct. 21, following 260 days under severe restrictions to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

“The past few months has seen all but one of our stores go into extended lockdowns so we are excited to welcome customers back,” said Alpha60 co-founder Georgie Cleary.

Her Melbourne fashion brand took part in the Fashion x Art show at the National Gallery of Victoria, which showcased Alpha60′s recent collaboration with Australian artist Patricia Piccinini along with work by seven other designers.

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The Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne Cricket Ground and the Melbourne Aquarium were among eight other city locations to host runway shows featuring Australian brands, including Maticevski, Akira, Aje and Ginger & Smart with the aim of encouraging Melburnians to re-engage with their city.

“The very long and uncertain closure of Melbourne has been incredibly difficult and resulted in so many businesses lost,” said Christine Barro, the owner of Melbourne fashion boutique Christine. “MFW enables retailers, designers and consumers to connect directly and make the experience special.”

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