Stylistas on the hunt for something a little different from the city’s usual fashion fare need look no further than PMQ in Central, where, from December 3, seven rising stars of Melbourne’s design milieu will peddle their wares in a retail pop-up alongside three up-and-coming Hong Kong designers, as part of Business of Design Week.
“Australian brands have the advantage of having both the exposure to international fashion and yet being slightly removed. This cultivates a uniqueness in their products and brand identity,” says Carla Woidt, a board member of the Australian Fashion Council (AFC), which is behind AFC Curated.
Visitors to the week-long pop-up will have the chance to meet Melbourne-based designers such as Lois McGruer-Fraser – known for her sustainably made clothing line, Lois Hazel – and Courtenay Tyrrell, who creates quirky accessories for Maude Studio.
“Having grown up in Hong Kong, and attended primary school there, it is exciting to return, this time with my business, and begin a new relationship with such an incredible city,” says McGruer-Fraser.
The showcase is a homecoming of sorts, too, for Shanghai-born Vincent Li, who spent time studying fashion in Hong Kong and whose Prêt-à-Porter menswear range combines Western and Chinese influences.
AFC Curated is aimed at giving a leg-up to young, independent designers, who often struggle to compete with international labels.
“We’re a creative industry so it’s critical for our future that we have new, exciting and energetic people coming through,” says Dave Giles-Kaye, chief executive of the AFC. “One of the best ways for this to happen is by nurturing emerging designers.”
The PMQ pop-up marks the first time the AFC has brought its retail concept overseas, giving Hongkongers the chance to buy items that aren’t available anywhere else in town.
Other collections featured include those by Melbourne labels A.BCH, Gehrich, Mndatory and Guerrilla Theatre Brand, bringing between them a mix of ethical fashion, timeless luxury, men’s tailoring and wearable art.
AFC Curated is at PMQ, 35 Aberdeen Street, Central from December 3-9. For more information, see afccurated.com.