Don't be fooled - Fashion Week Australia was NOT a celebration of diversity


Yes, I am back once again to criticise a major fashion event on its lack of diversity (see last post re. Met Gala) and yes, maybe I am somewhat repeating myself. But look, that's not my fault. If the damn industry would actually pay attention, I wouldn't have to write so many of these now would I?



We Are Kindred models at MBFWA 2019. Source: @wearekindred

Not a trick question. The answer is no, I wouldn't. But instead, here we are, a couple of weeks later and the message remains the same. The fashion industry has a HUGE representation problem. Though we knew this, right? Right. But there have been whispers of change, of a new era, and, for a moment, I was almost gullible enough to believe them. That was until Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia (MBFWA) landed in Sydney this week and, well, it was bleak.


At first I was excited because I was seeing some signs of diversity celebrated in my social media feeds. Aussie Swimwear brand Aqua Blu had La'Tecia Thomas walk and she almost broke the internet. I was certain I would find more examples! Eagerly, I trolled through the photos looking for more of this magic, but to my dismay, I found almost nothing.


La'Tecia Thoman walks for Aqua Blu. Source: @lateciat

Don't believe me? I went back through the entire collection showcased on the catwalks from every label that presented (yes, it took a long time and no, I didn't have better things to do) and I rated them on a scale from 0-5 (0 being abysmal, 5 being high-fives all round). Also, just to clarify, having one "plus-sized model" (e.g. Robyn Lawley and her 6"2' goddess stature) and a few models of colour does not make you diverse when the remainder of the show is overwhelmingly filled with white, very noticeably thin women. (Note: I am not bashing thin white models. I was one).


So, let's get to it shall we? Below are the ratings for the brands presenting at MBFWA 2019 in Sydney.


AJE = 1

Anna Quan = 1.5

Aqua Blue= 3

Azzo = 1

Bassike = 1

Bec & Bridge = 1

Bondi Born = 1

Carla Zampatti = 1

Christopher Esber = 1

Double Rainbouu = 1.5

Hansel & Gretel = 2

Holiday by Emma Mulholland = 1

Innovater Showcase = 1.5

Jonathon Simkhai = 1

Justin Cassin = 1

Karla Spetic = 1.5

Lee Mathews = 1

Leo & Lin = 1

Mariam Seddiq = 1.5

Marni = 1

Mattaeu = 2.5

Michael Lo Sordo = 1

P.E Nation = 2

Pared Eye = 1

Ten Pieces = 1

Tigerlily = 1

We Are Kindred = 1


Robyn Lawley walks for Aqua Blu. Source @aquabluaustralia

...I told you. Bleak. And why? Can women over a size 6 not be fashionable? Can they not want to dress in beautiful designer clothing? Do they not have a right to do so? Cause that's the projection coming off these runways at the moment, and in most moments before this. Granted, the US does a bit of a better job, but Australia is significantly lacking. This is one of the country's largest fashion events, if not the largest, and it has let us all down.


I'm lucky. I can look at the items of clothing presented in these shows and know that should my heart so desire, I could walk into the store and pick one off the rack, knowing comfortably they cater to my size. However, given the average size for an Australian woman is a 14-16, many do not have this luxury.


So to our Aussie brands- stop discriminating against bodies who don't fit into a size 12 or smaller. Stop ignoring the majority of your target market (women). It's rude, it's offensive, and the world is starting to take notice. It's time you did, too.

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