It’s the first Fashion Week since February 2020, and who would have thought, even 18 months ago, that we’d be where we are today?

Not only has the entire fashion landscape changed (hello, USD346 million in sales of fashion facemasks on Etsy between March and August in 2020*) but we’re now seeing brands embrace technology in a way we might never have if it wasn’t for a global pandemic. 

This year, we’ve seen a few Australian Fashion Week firsts – Afterpay as the platinum sponsor, see-now, buy-now runways, fully digital experiences, and we couldn’t be more excited for all the newness that Fashion Week is embracing.

Here’s just a few of the firsts that we think will become show staples in years to come.

A brand led by consumers taking the platinum sponsor spot

Afterpay and Mercedes Benz don’t have a whole lot in common. One’s about making fashion accessible, the other is a little more aspirational. One makes a living off leveraging data, the other, selling fancy cars. While Mercedes Benz might have brought a touch of glamour to an exclusive Fashion Week aimed at industry insiders, Afterpay wants to revolutionise the way Fashion Week is done, starting by bringing those shopping the runways into the shows. For the first time in Australia, regular fashion lovers have been able to buy tickets to select shows and have been able to shop the runways directly. This is a trend that’s happening around the world, especially now that Afterpay has been named the key sponsor for all of the major international Fashion Weeks, so this is a trend we expect to see continue.

Live streamed and pre-recorded runways

Macgraw’s digital runway experience featured drone footage and was live-streamed via the AAFW website to much acclaim, while Shona Joy’s fully pre-recorded show meant the brand was able to showcase their runway to a much wider audience. With travel and large gatherings still a little tenuous, pre-recorded runway shows will be something we’ll be seeing a lot more of in the future. This trend also allows brands without a lot of cash behind them to create beautiful experiences and digital assets that can have a lot more longevity than a one-off show.

Digital press centres and showrooms are now the norm

Gone are the days of messy dropbox links and expiring WeTransfer files. Editors expect the PRs they work with to have a certain level of sophistication, and that means the tools they use need to look beautiful as well as being functional. Some of the biggest brands showing this week have created fully digital press centres to distribute assets to media straight after the show, as well as allow them to track what imagery has been downloaded or samples requested. In this digital age, bums on seats isn’t an accurate measure of the success of a show, and smart PRs are leveraging all the data they have access to, to demonstrate this to their clients and brands.

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See it? Shop it.

Consumers no longer want to wait for months before the look they’ve fallen in love with on the runway is available in stores. And with fast fashion moving at the speed of light, designers need to do more to get their products into the hands of their customers. Enter the see-now, buy-now runway. Brands like Shona Joy leveraged this strategy for their pre-recorded runway at AAFW ‘21, meaning customers were able to shop the looks as soon as they walked in the shows. Not only could consumers buy straight away, but they could leverage Afterpay’s Buy Now, Pay Later tool to split up payments, increasing average cart sizes and eCommerce website conversion rates.  

This experience has been trialled at Fashion Weeks around the world, and we’re expecting to see even more of this type of show in the future. 

Overall, there’s a whole lot to be excited about for FW ‘22! What were you most excited to see at Afterpay Australian Fashion Week in 2021? Share your thoughts with us at

Image source: MacGraw