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Designers Abroad | Paris Fashion Week SS20

The Australian Fashion Council, together with key supporters The Woolmark Company and His Excellency Brendan Berne, Australian Ambassador to France, co-hosted an evening reception on September 30th to celebrate Australian fashion at Paris Fashion Week.

by The AFC

22 October 2019


The Australian Fashion Council, together with key supporters The Woolmark Company and His Excellency Brendan Berne, Australian Ambassador to France, co-hosted an evening reception on September 30th to celebrate Australian fashion at Paris Fashion Week.

As part of the AFC Designers Abroad program at Paris Fashion Week, the networking event was focused on creating invaluable commercial and media connections for Australian designers showing at PFW, while helping to raise the profile of Australian fashion on a global scale.


To highlight the positive impact of Australian fashion and its close history with Australian Merino wool, The Community created a ‘Modern Merino’ interactive installation, set against the Australian Embassy’s spectacular views over the Eiffel Tower.

“Merino board shorts! I thought I’d heard it all! The Australian Fashion Council and the Woolmark Company made a spectacular demonstration of the sheer creativity of Australian design and extraordinarily versatility of Australian merino wool. Sophisticated and sustainable… and an exciting, creative and contemporary image of Australia.”

— H.E. Brendan Berne, Australian Ambassador to France

The event presented an opportunity for industry, media, buyers and influencers to see Australia’s strong and diverse design talent, showcasing seven up-and-coming Australian fashion designers:  Albus Lumen, Dion Lee, Ex Infinitas, Nagnata, Helen Kaminski, Jacinta James and Blair Archibald.

Each designer presented one key look style across a series of six compelling soft sculptures, inspired by modern, contemporary artists such as John Chamberlain, the natural diversity of Australia and the rich textures of wool.  The sculptures used Merino wool fibre and recycled materials in neutral or contrasting colours, with a mixture of fresh and dried flowers and plants, fixed with organic hemp rope and yarn.

The Community are a multidisciplinary art gallery and agency based in Paris. They are recognised for creating a dialogue between arts and fashion, and are dedicated to promoting emerging and young designers and artists.

“This is a beautiful showcase of the versatility of Australia’s finest Merino wool, interpreted by Australia’s leading designers, in the fashion capital of the world.”

— Damien Pommeret, Country Manager for France, The Woolmark Company

Guests enjoyed a live performance from Zoe Shanghai followed by a DJ set from Sooyoon.  Canapés were accompanied by champagne and a selection of wines from dynamic and contemporary Australian wine producer Handpicked Wines.

Upon arrival guests were also given the opportunity to gain exclusive preview access to the Jarracharra Exhibition on the first floor of the Embassy, before its official opening on the following evening.  The exhibition features a selection of work from five Australian Indigenous textile artists at the Bábbarra Women’s Centre in West Arnhem Land.

“Our culture and fashion is worth celebrating and Australia will continue to lead the way, shaping the future of design and innovation.”

— Edwina McCann, Co-Chair of the AFC & Editor-in-Chief of Vogue Australia

The AFC Designers Abroad is a program built to support Australia’s fashion labels on a global scale, by assisting them to grow their export capability and their global networks.

During the week, the AFC also hosted a business breakfast session at the Australian Embassy in Paris, which delved into all facets of growing a fashion label in the European market. Designers heard from a range of local industry experts, including:

Helena Lanza, COO of Lambert & Associates

Lambert + Associates is a leading retail consultancy that helps brands and retailers to flourish in today's global marketplace. With over 40 years of experience in the fashion and luxury industry, they work with clients to address the challenges that they are facing today, to build solutions for the future.

Lucianne Tonti, Founder of Le 31

Le 31 is a Paris based showroom and consultancy, founded by Australian Lucianne Tonti. They work with designers who create beautiful things, with a focus on sustainable design and ethical practices.

Mathias Ohrel, Founder of m-O Conseil

m-O Conseil is a Paris based agency specialising in creative management and talent recruitment for companies with strong design content. In 2018, m-O contributed to the development of the vision and creative management of 35 organisations, two thirds of which are fashion brands.

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