Early this week, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon Julie Bishop MP, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Australian Fashion Chamber (AFC).
Signing the MoU with the Chair of the Australian Fashion Chamber and Editor-in-Chief of Vogue Australia, Edwina McCann and Minster Bishop emphasised the importance of the fashion industry to Australia, which employs some 220,000 people and contributes around $12 billion to the economy each year.
The MoU formalises the partnership between the Government and the fashion industry. It will enable the industry and Government to work together to connect Australian designers internationally, promote private sector engagement, nurture fashion talent, promote economic opportunities, drive economic growth and promote gender equality.
The event, held at the University of Technology Sydney Business School, was attended by some of Australia’s fashion elite. Four Sydney Dance Company performers modeled costumes from leading Australian fashion designers Toni Maticevski, Dion Lee, Akira Isogawa and Josh Goot, while four models wore creations from Aje, By Johnny, macgraw and Bianca Spender.
At the event Minister Bishop also announced that the AFC was successful in their application under the Australian Cultural Diplomacy Grants Program for their Australian Designers Abroad project. Through this grant the AFC will take one emerging and five established fashion designers to Paris for an Australian showroom in the sidelines of the largest trade show in the industry – Paris Fashion Week. This project will increase international recognition of Australian designers and improve market access in Europe and worldwide.
In the past twelve months, Australia’s diplomatic network has hosted events with the fashion industry in New York, London, Paris, Istanbul, Jakarta and New Delhi. These events have provided an important platform for Australian designers and producers to access overseas buyers and investment, and to promote their brands overseas at the major fashion weeks internationally.
The Government is committed to working closely with the industry to ensure it continues to drive economic growth and present Australia as a world-class innovative and creative nation, opening doors to further trade and investment.
The Australian Fashion Chamber is the peak body for fashion designers and works to strengthen, protect and nurture the originality, influence and success of Australian fashion, both domestically and globally.
AFC General Manager, Courtney Miller said “We are privileged to have the strong support of the Australian Government and to be able to nurture our future fashion leaders while leveraging business development, trade and investment opportunities.”
Members of the Australian fashion industry, along with AFC members, attended the MoU signing. Australian designers were showcased by four dancers from the Sydney Dance Company, costumed by Toni Maticevski, Dion Lee, Akira and Josh Goot, as well as models wearing macgraw, Aje, Bianca Spender and By Johnny.
The AFC is possible thanks to the ongoing support provided by AMP Capital Shopping Centres, The Woolmark Company, Toni & Guy, MAC Cosmetics, Australian Reliance and Qantas, all companies recognising the importance of Australian fashion and the strong potential of Australian designers.