Designers say G'day to the USA

2 April 2012

Australian wool fashion apparel was showcased in New York City in January when Aussie fever took over Manhattan as part of the annual ‘G’Day USA: Australia week’ promotional program.

The Australian Five: Magdalena Velevska and Michael Lo Sordo; with Fernando Frisoni, Kym Ellery and Christopher Esber
The Australian Five: Magdalena Velevska and Michael Lo Sordo (back); with Fernando Frisoni, Kym Ellery and Christopher Esber (front)

Five of Australia’s most promising young fashion designers showcased their collections to New York’s top tier of press and fashion industry executives on Australia Day, as part of the fortnight-long celebrations.

The event was the highlight of the Australian Five program, a joint effort between The Woolmark Company and the Australians in New York Fashion Foundation (AINYFF). It was an opportunity for designers Michael Lo Sordo, Kym Ellery, Magdalena Velevska, Christopher Esber and Fernando Frisoni to present their autumn/winter collections to some of the most influential buyers in the USA.

The Woolmark Company CEO Stuart McCullough said the promotional event provided invaluable experience to the emerging fashion designers as well as endorsement of the superior qualities of Merino wool.

“The Australian Five is focused on bringing the best of Australian design and putting them in front of New York’s best fashion editors, stylists and buyers,” Mr McCullough said. “It blends the best of Australian fashion with the best of Australian Merino wool to produce innovative pieces reflecting our country.

“The USA is a primary market for the Australian wool industry, with targets in women’s knitwear as well as wovens. Events such as G’Day USA allow us to not only build but also maintain relationships with key industry players and further commercialise innovations in Merino.”

The designers said they walked away with priceless experiences.

“I absolutely loved hearing about the success of our fellow Australians in New York from the AINYFF,” designer Kym Ellery said. “It was so good to be able to sit down and have a round table discussion about what focus and energy is required to make it in the US market. I left feeling super inspired and ready for the challenges ahead.”

She said a definite highlight was meeting buyers from major stores such as Barney’s and SAKS.

Mr Frisoni agreed that networking was a major highlight of the event and he was ready and excited for what the future would bring. He said everyone involved in the organisation of the event not only inspired and motivated him but also allowed him to meet key people within the industry he would not have normally been exposed to.

“The Woolmark Company opened a door to me, which is actually very hard to open it alone. I am very grateful for this opportunity.”