World news story

London becomes a key destination for Australian fashion designers and retailers to do business

Four Australian fashion designers will be selected to join the Australian fashion showcase at London Fashion Week next February.

Union Flag Mannequin
Union Flag Mannequin

The UK Department for International Trade (DIT) has partnered with the Australian Fashion Chamber (AFC) and British Airways to give 4 Australian designers the opportunity to participate in an exciting Australian showcase at London Fashion Week in February 2018.

Sharing the same vision to assist Australian companies to grow and make their mark internationally, DIT’s support will extend the Australian Fashion Chamber’s ‘Designer Abroad Programme’ to include London as a key destination for Australian fashion designers to do business.

A competition to select participants will be officially launched by world renowned fashion designer and British Business Ambassador, Anya Hindmarch, at ‘British High Tea’ events in Sydney on 5 September and Melbourne on 12 September 2017.

Ms Hindmarch will join both events via video link where she will also share insights into how to present a collection in London and build a global fashion business.

The Sydney event will be in conversation with AFC Chair and Editor-in-Chief of Vogue, Edwina McCann, and the Melbourne event with fashion writer Rachelle Unreich.

The Designer Abroad London competition will be open to Australian based designers and entries will be assessed by a panel of judges based on a range of criteria, including readiness and suitability for UK expansion.

The 4 selected designers will fly to London courtesy of our official airline partner, British Airways, to showcase some of the best Australian fashion during London Fashion Week. They will gain unprecedented access and exposure to key and ordinarily inaccessible business contacts, high profile media and attendees of the event. A wider business programme will also help them to develop networks and gain insights into doing business in the UK.

40% of all money spent in London is on retail - over £64 billion a year - making it an incredibly attractive destination for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) retail projects.

Australian retailers in particular have made the UK their global destination of choice with the likes of R.M. Williams, Zimmermann, Grace Loves Lace, Bailey Nelson and many more now with a UK presence. The 4 winning fashion retailers will be given an unparalleled opportunity to follow in the footsteps of these growing Australian brands, and create their very own global ties.

Mr. Michael Ward, British Consul General and Director General Department for International Trade, Australia and New Zealand said:

Like the UK Australia is full of amazing creative and design talent and we are delighted to partner with The Australian Fashion Chamber to help nurture this talent and bring them onto the world stage.

The UK has a dynamic retail environment, brimming with opportunity for those with flair and ambition, and we look forward to seeing more Australian designers building their reputation and business through UK expansion.

World renowned fashion designer and British Business Ambassador Anya Hindmarch said:

The UK offers tremendous opportunities for ambitious and innovative designers and I hope that I can help by sharing my own experiences with Australia’s next wave of global fashion entrepreneurs. There are already a number of Australian fashion labels doing well in London, and I look forward to seeing many more.

Editor-in-Chief of Vogue and Chair of the Australian Fashion Chamber, Edwina McCann said:

With the incredible success of Designers Abroad in Paris and New York, London is the perfect new destination to take our talented Australian designers to showcase their collections. This opportunity will allow a group of local designers to break into the UK market, a task that would usually be a massive undertaking and expense, and therefore probably out of their reach. The Australian Fashion Chamber is proud to partner with the UK Department for International Trade for the showroom, fostering the positive profile of Australian fashion in the UK.

Nicole Backo, British Airways’ Regional General Manager, South West Pacific said:

We are delighted to be the official airline partner for the Australian Fashion Chamber, which is particularly special as it marks the AFC’s first occasion to ever join London Fashion Week. As an airline, we have been operating to Australia for over 80 years, therefore we are always proud to be involved in opportunities to showcase Australian talent.

Australian designers interested in expanding globally, or applying for the Designer Abroad London competition are encouraged to contact Tess Fowler, Head of Investment at the Department for International Trade in Sydney: Designers and retailers in Melbourne interested in attending the High Tea event on Tuesday 12th September are also encouraged to email Tess, spaces are limited.

About the UK Department for International Trade

The UK’s Department for International Trade (DIT) has overall responsibility for promoting UK trade across the world and attracting foreign investment to our economy. We are a specialised government body with responsibility for negotiating international trade policy, supporting business, as well as delivering an outward-looking trade diplomacy strategy.

Key partners on the Designer Abroad London programme include: the UK Department for International Trade, the Australian Fashion Chamber and British Airways.

AFC’s existing partners include: The Woolmark Company, AMP Capital, Commonwealth Bank of Australia and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

For more information, access the Australian Fashion Chamber’s landing page here:

Require further information? Contact Matt Kirk at the UK Department for International Trade in Sydney at or +61 (0) 2 8247 2220.

Published 5 September 2017