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Slow Start for Exhibitors at Fashion Week

By Ian Neubauer

The mood was upbeat, the glitterati were out in force and the designs were as cheeky as they’ve ever been. But there could be no denying the recession was in full force when Rosemount Australian Fashion Week (RAFW) kicked off at the Overseas Passenger Terminal in Sydney yesterday (Apr 27).  

The decelerated economy was most felt on the tradeshow floor, where up and coming designers from around Australia paid an arm and a leg to have the who’s who of Australian fashion and international delegates sashay past their stalls while lining up for the catwalk shows of sass & bide, Nicola Finetti, Zimmerman and the like.

First-time exhibitor Ulyana Bezeruk and her brother
paid $12,000 to show their new range at the Rosemont
Australian Fashion Show in Sydney this week

“There have been a lot of people looking but not purchasing. Maybe they are seeing what will happen later on in the week and saving their budgets till then,” said Twice Flight Jewellery designer, Rebecca Love.

“I think at this early stage a lot of people focus on going to the shows and  I will get more attention later on,” said exhibitor Amanda Clegg, owner of Cynics Accessories.

“We have made a few sales and people who have not previously had any interest in us have seen us here,” said Ulyana Bezeruk, who travelled from Adelaide with her brother and mother to exhibit a new range of women’s apparel by NonetheRicher and two other labels the family produces under the name Kozak.

The Bezeruk’s boast the largest stand at RAFW this year, having paid $12,000 for the space in addition to flights, accommodation, freight and rental fees for display hardware. But according to the Bezeruks, it’s bound to pay off.

“If you want to get anywhere in life, you have to make money to spend money,” said the family matriarch, Tatiana. “What we expect to gain is media exposure and to pick up new stockists, which is very important to us,”

Other designers interviewed by SpiceNews expressed similar sentiments, saying they would not be disappointed if they did not recoup via sales the cost of exhibiting at the show.  

“I will judge [success or failure] based on the contacts I make – showing my products to as many people as I can,” said Rebecca Love. “It’s about just getting the business name out there.”

“For me, success is not all about buyers but about getting media exposure,” added Amanda Clegg.