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Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia Brings $44m in Domestic and Int'l Sales

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By Athena Yenko | April 7, 2014 4:21 PM EST

The Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia is estimated to bring in $44 million shares from sales to domestic and international buyers, ABC online reports.

However, the estimated shares will not be without hurdles and constraints.

The coming in of international brands and online sellers pose challenges to the local fashion industry.

"Designers are no longer competing amongst themselves anymore. They're competing against the international high street. So stores like Zara and H&M are coming in, who are able to translate runway looks for consumers at an affordable price point. They haven't had to compete with that before," Assia Benmedjdoub, the editor of the industry magazine Ragtrader told ABC.

Designer Jayson Brunsdon echoed the same sentiment.

"Now Zara's here, H&M is here, Topshop is here - they're all coming in. As well as all the luxury  groups - all the luxury groups have opened flagship stores in most cities in Australia as well. So competition is fierce," Mr Brunsdon said.

Mr Brunsdon was hit by global financial crisis that he had closed his stand alone boutiques and now decided to sell his brand through Myer's department store.

And for this Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia which will be on April 6-10, Mr Brunsdon's entry was manufactured from China. He said that the decision was motivated by economic challenges.

He had some advice for the new designers in the industry.

"I do think there are a lot of young designers coming through who need to think about the realities of the situation. They really need to think about the competition, the online shopping phenomenon, the internationals coming in. They need to think about their price points and they need to think about making locally. But it's very difficult to manufacture offshore if you don't have the volume."

For  Melbourne-based Toni Maticevski, who still manufacture locally, manufacturing offshore for volume, produced products that missed out on quality.

"It can be really great for someone who's doing, you know, fast fashion - kind of get it through, high volume, not really concerned with quality. But then for me it was just kind of constant mistakes that we needed to keep correcting and it became even more costly in the end. It became really nightmarish and I thought, 'Stuff that - lets just take it back in and control it internally."

Mr Maticevski had been exporting his line to Europe, Asia and the Middle East. He admitted that while other designers are experiencing hurdle in the market, his market is growing.

For Assia Benmedjdoub the key to successfully cross the threshold of any market, whether local or international, is to balance both quality and price.

"I think the outlook is that Australian retailers and Australian designers will fight for the market share they have by really raising the quality of production and the quality for what they do," he said.

Georgina Safe of Advocate revealed that to secure a slot for the Fashion Week, one spends approximately $6,000 to $14,500.

This makes the  Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia a commercial event with young designers spending $40,000 to stage a show.

Ms Safe raised the question: why do they continue to show?

She got the answer from a pattern maker.

"I work with many hopeful start ups ... 99 per cent of them go nowhere. Many people are drawn into fashion not because of their skills, but because they want this amazing lifestyle and glamour [but] the market forces are very much against them. 'There is a phenomenon called 'I want a fashion label' and mostly all ends in tears."

To contact the editor, e-mail:

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