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International bloggers and online retailers will decide whether Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in Sydney is deemed a success.
Among the 1800 delegates were representatives from major players in the online shopping world ASOS, Shopbop, Net-a-Porter and MyWardrobe. Influential fashion bloggers from around the globe, including the Phillipines’ Bryanboy, Sweden’s Elin Kling and the United Kingdom’s Susie Bubble graced the front row to eye the wares from local designers, including the 15 labels making their debut.
The vice-president of event owner IMG, Martin Jolly, says bloggers who hold celebrity status create a positive impact on the event. “The bloggers have great influence in setting trends and immediately sharing with their audience what’s in,” he says. “It’s a similar power to what traditional magazine editors wield because these bloggers have a huge following and young people, in particular, really listen to what they say.”
It’s a shift that boosts the entire industry. “The rise of blogging and online shopping doesn’t do any damage because it actually builds fashion’s profile and helps promote growth,” Jolly says.
The event is still profitable but this year IMG opted to invest more money than in the past few years, including the reintroduction of a large Harbour-side marquee after an absence of several years. “We can’t do the same thing every year,” he says.
However, Jolly says there is no mistaking the fact fashion retail is tough. “I don’t think anyone is expecting a bounce-back with massive gains,” he says.
Figures from IBISWorld indicate he is right, with fashion industry growth expected to be just 0.5 per cent this year. IBISWorld general manager Karen Dobie says consumers may loosen their purse strings towards the end of the year. “Strong job security will support consumer sentiment, which has declined by 5.6 per cent from last year,” she says.