Social media enticing overseas buyers to Australian Fashion Week

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This year's edition of the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in Sydney has seen an increase in overseas buyers of locally-designed products, largely due to a social media campaign run by event organisers.

The number of local buyers who are attending the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in Sydney has decreased ten-fold in recent years, with just 24 buyers expected to make an appearance during the week.

However, major shifts in the local industry have lured overseas buyers, watching runway-side, or online.

Event organisers have streamed shows all week online, broadcasting live to an estimated 2500 buyers across the world.

This week at Carriageworks in Sydney's Everleigh, all manner of trends are on display; but the question has changed, from 'who are you wearing?' to 'where are you from?'.

Bing Xun is a Shanghai based retailer and buyer who owns a boutique in inner Sydney, selling mainly to consumers in mainland China and Chinese expatriates in Australia.

Ms Xun caught up with SBS after attending the Karla Spetic runway show, taking notes for her clients back home.

"Australian fashion keeps getting better and better, my clients love it because it is stylish and unique," she said.

"It used to be I would have to buy from showrooms, but this is so much better now because I can see things and take videos to show my clients, using Chinese social media and they see it on the people."

Social media has been a major lure for far-flung shoppers.

"When many bloggers wear it and many fashionable people in China they will follow it on Instagram and they will follow these brands, makes them popular brands," Ms Xun said.

Cue the influencers, such as designer darling Margaret Zhang, seen front row at several shows during the week - these are the people labels are targeting for their wide reach.

Helen Chik of ch1k.com was modelling clothes supplied by the G Star label when she spoke with SBS News between shows at Carriageworks.

"They give bloggers like me clothing so we show it online and people see it," she said.

"I think Australia has taken a bit of time to get on board with social media, with Snapchat, Instagram, but we are finally catching up and their is a big push for brands to see their clothes on Instagram," she said.

This event is the first time an Australian Fashion Week has showed resort wear, in conjunction with the Northern Hemisphere spring/summer.

For designer Karla Spetic, the timing makes a huge difference to her business.

"It falls within the international schedule I think, and also with buying so I think that it is really important and great that we have done that," she said.

"We have such a small market in Australia, that I have in the last few years focused a lot internationally."

 

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