3 Days of Aussie Street Fashion @ Buffet

Here’s the recap of Buffet tradeshow that I created for enovate blog originally:
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Right after Chinese New Year, we packed our bags for a trip for the southern hemisphere to hit BuffetAcclaim Magazine’s new trade show.  Buffet is not an average “show samples to buyers” kind of trade show. Instead, they focused on brining in all the movers and trend setters in Australia and New Zealand’s street fashion scene. It was part workshop for newbies, part networking session for insiders.

Buffet Launch Party 01

On the first night, we celebrated the launch of Buffet at 1000 £ Bend in downtown Melbourne.  The warehouse turned cafe/bar was also hosting LTRHDS, an art show curated by Stussy that included 26 letter inspired illustrationd from 26 artists.

buffet

(Photo Credit: LTRHDS)

Things got a bit more serious on the second day, with two panels talking about how to start a street fashion brand, and how to grow a brand to the next level.  The day’s highlight was Jeff Staple.  He spoke about his experience starting his fashion label/design studio/retail store, and how he grew the business into a golden name in the industry.  One thing I found really inspiring was his definition of Staple as a “positive social contagion;” that everything they do “starts from people and spreads.” The star-studded panel also featured Simon Wood, aka Woody, aka Sneaker Freaker founder (a point of pride for Australia’s scene).

Buffet Forums 09

Day 3:  Frank Liew (founder/owner of Qubic store in Auckland, NZ) presented a pitch on the “new retailer,” which sparked a good discussion on retail among other panelists.  The last panel went back to the core topic of fashion: design.  Jeff Staple, Luca Ionescu (Like-Minded studio), and Chey Ataria (ABC Clothing) all shared their unique perspectives on inspirations and working design concepts into marketable products. Afterwards, Trevor Choy treated us to some valuable insights into the murky world of copyrights and IP.

Buffet Forums 14

Overall feeling about the Australian streetwear market is that it’s a pretty mature market with a couple big international players and quite some small boutique brands.  The consensus is that Australia/NZ itself is too small a market for local brands to survive.  Brands and retailers are also facing the competition pressure from US, which has a much bigger street fashion market.  The consumers are almost at the same pace as US, but the retail environment is fragmented with an immature online shopping culture, these are the most quoted challenges from the panelists at the forum.

Buffet Forums 19

Right after coming back from Australia, we attended another trade show, Novo Mania, which we have covered in a post last week.  The difference between the two shows reflects the differences between China and Australia’s street fashion markets.  But I’ll leave that to another post.

Last but not least, thanks to Andrew Montell from Acclaim Magazine for planning and organizing this event.  All photos are taken by  Michael Danischewski, provided by Acclaim.

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