Australian Fashion Week Designers to Have Access to COVID-19 Funding

The federal government program offers funding of up to a quarter-million dollars per eligible business exhibitor at approved events.

By Patty Huntington 16/02/2021

This year’s event, which is due to run from May 31 to June 4 at Sydney’s Carriageworks venue, has been approved for the federal government’s $50 million dollar Business Events Grants program, which was unveiled in September to assist the country’s $36 billion business events sector get back on its feet after the coronavirus crisis. According to Federal Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham, around 95 per cent of Australia’s 2020 business events were either cancelled or postponed due to the pandemic.

Under the program, Australian companies exhibiting at an approved business event in 2021 can apply for upfront grants of $10,000 to $250,000 to cover up to 50 per cent of eligible expenditures.

The initiative — one tranche of the Australian federal government’s total $507 billion, stimulus package revealed since the outbreak of the pandemic — is part of the $1 billion COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Fund, which is supporting regions, communities and industry sectors severely affected by the crisis.

Grant applications are now open, with applications due to close at 5 p.m. Australian Eastern Daylight Time on March 30, or earlier if funding is exhausted.

The funding news will be an additional sweetener for designers considering taking part in this year’s event, which has been rebranded as Afterpay Australian Fashion Week, after the Australian buy now, pay later start-up recently took over from longtime naming rights sponsor Mercedes-Benz.

IMG had previously said it would waive all participation fees for designers at the event, which was cancelled last year due to COVID-19. The fees being waived cover runway venue and showroom use, digital content packages, livestreaming, access to Launchmetrics’ event management tools and production meetings with technical staff and showroom managers.

“IMG is dedicated to supporting Australian designers and the broader fashion industry through AAFW,” said Natalie Xenita, executive director of IMG’s fashion events group, Asia Pacific region. “Securing coverage of AAFW under the Business Events Grants program is another way we are working to ensure that our event continues to be accessible for designers, whose businesses have been greatly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Although the event’s preliminary schedule is not due to be unveiled for another two months, IMG has already revealed several see-now-buy-now shows that will be part of the event’s ticketed, integrated consumer program AAFW: The Experience, including Bassike, Manning Cartell and KitX.

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