Australian Fashion Week has returned to the catwalks as a report shows the industry contributes more than $27.2 billion to the Australian economy.
After being cancelled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event, primarily based at Sydney’s Carriageworks, is the first national fashion show to be held live anywhere in the world for more than a year.
The five-day event coincides with the release of an EY report, from High Fashion to High Vis – detailing the economic contribution of Australia’s fashion and textiles sector.
According to the Australian Fashion Council, which commissioned it, it’s the most comprehensive study of the fashion and textiles industry ever done in Australia.
It found the industry creates $7.2 billion in export revenue for Australia, while the industry’s economic impact represents upwards of 1.5 per cent of the national economy.
The study also found the industry employs almost half a million Australians, more than mining and utilities, with women making up 77 per cent of the workforce.
AFC CEO Leila Naja Hibri said the report highlighted the economic strength of the fashion industry.
“This ground-breaking report highlights the true economic clout of our dynamic and diverse industry,” she said.
“Until now, the comprehensive value of the industry’s economic contribution – and its predominantly female workforce – has not been fully recognised.
“Now we can better understand the impact of this sector’s significant role in Australia’s creative economy, and the substantial potential of its future,.”
The research coincides with Australia Fashion Week, which on Monday held a tribute to industry pioneer Carla Zampatti, who died last month.
It will be the largest fashion week since 2015 featuring more than 70 of Australia’s leading and emerging designers including the collections of eight Indigenous fashion designers on Wednesday.
The week will have a renewed focus on sustainability and it’s also the first time in its 25 year history that the public has been invited to attend, with 41 runway shows, workshops, panel talks, masterclasses as well as live podcasts.
Romance Was Born features its designs at Carriageworks on Monday night with the final show on Friday night.