Why Melbourne Spring Fashion Week is such a successful event

“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.

“Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”

This quote is a favourite of mine. Calvin Coolidge was a US President, and as with most dead famous people, there is a rose tinted 20/20 hindsight applied to their achievements and personalities whilst alive. In truth he wasn’t always the nicest bloke, but he was seriously tenacious. And tenacity, longevity and dogged determination usually delivers changes in attitude and behaviour. And success.

This year, in the midst of a very messy election, with rising unemployment rates in retailing, fashion designers and retailers in receivership, and just generally poor shopper confidence, Melbourne will promote and host its 19th consecutive Melbourne Spring Fashion Week. From Saturday August 31 to Sunday September 8, over 100,000 shoppers will descend on Melbourne. More than 90,000 of those shoppers will be women, and the vast majority will be in their teens to mid-30s.  All are there to see, try and buy the latest fashion items from local, national and international designers. They may even wear some of their purchases out to bars, restaurants and race tracks.

And sadly once again I will be overseas, and will miss it.

Now as a middle aged male I may not be the target shopper, but I can’t think of many better ways to spend two weeks than eating and drinking in Melbourne in the company of 90,000 well dressed and fashion forward young women. However, in this case my regret at again missing the event is more professional. I won’t have the opportunity to see and experience how such a broad range of designers and retailers combine under a government and business managed event to create a two week long shopping fest.

I do have a huge admiration for the City of Melbourne and the Victorian State Government. For almost two decades, irrespective of which party is in power in City Hall or State Parliament, “government” has worked with “business” to provide bipartisan support to grow Melbourne’s retailing industry in general, and fashion retailing in particular.

It hasn’t been a fad, or a good idea for a term of government. It’s been a long journey of growth. Over that time Melbourne has positioned itself as the fashion capital of Australia, drawing national and international visitors to spend money on clothes and accessories, in turn creating jobs and maintaining a vitality in its CBD and suburban retailing zones all year round.

Next year is the 20th MSFW. I really do need to get my act together and ensure I attend. If you own a fashion store in Australia, go along this month with a camera and capture the best displays and merchandising ideas and take them home. After 19 years of doing it right, you’ll pick up a heap of ideas that will help you grow your sales in a tough economy.

CROSSMARK CEO Kevin Moore looks at the world of retailing from grocery to pharmacy, bottle shops to car dealers, corner store to department stores.


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