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March 23, 2023

Sewing together a broad tent at SA Fashion Weekend

Local fashion authority SAFIA's aim for its inaugural SA Fashion Weekend, which will show three runways on Saturday night, is to bring more of the Adelaide public and local fashion industry into its community.

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  • Words: Johnny von Einem
  • Pictures: Just Another Creative

The South Australian Fashion Industry Association, better known as SAFIA, will this weekend hold its first major event since launching at Adelaide Fashion Week last year.


SA Fashion Weekend
24—26 March
Festival Plaza
King William Road, Adelaide 5000


Hosted at Festival Plaza on King William Road, SA Fashion Weekend will feature three runways on Saturday night: Emerge, focussing on new designers; Sustain, highlighting ethical sourcing and creation of garments; and Moment, which will platform much-loved and established South Australian brands.

There will also be a Black Dress Runway on Friday night, produced by local agency Finesse Models.

Chair of SAFIA, Helen Jansson, says she hopes SA Fashion Weekend will bring more people into the local fashion community.

“One of our tags is ‘Exclusively inclusive’, because we don’t want people to think that coming to fashion events and buying fashion is something that other people do. We want it to be something that everyone does,” she says. “The fact is that clothing that is made by South Australian brands is extremely accessible to everybody.”

Helen hopes that attendees also walk away with a fuller picture of the size and scale of the fashion industry here.

“I think there’s an underestimation of how big it already is,” she says.

“We’ve got Acler, who are one of our bigger brands who are already selling all over the world; we have C/MEO and Keepsake, who have been long-term national and international brands; we have RM Williams, which is not only a massive international brand but probably will be the biggest fashion manufacturing brand in Australia that’s producing in Australia over the next few years.

“Our industry is already really, really strong. It will get stronger and bigger, but we need to let everyone know it’s there.”


As part of its launch in October last year, SAFIA held a breakfast working party where an array of people from within the industry were invited to tell the newly minted association what they thought its goals should be.

“It clarified that the industry is very different and diverse, but it clarified that we needed to come up with something that helped everyone, not just one sector of the industry,” Helen says.

From this meeting, the SAFIA board created some “strategy pillars”, which will be made public after the SA Fashion Weekend event.

One of major takeaways was that many people who ostensibly work within the fashion industry often feel overlooked.

“When we were putting the industry database together, [I realised] how little we consider the broader industry that is not necessarily related to fashion but is related to textiles, jewellery, footwear, accessories, and how they currently don’t feel like they’re necessarily part of the fashion industry, but they absolutely are,” Helen says. “The amount of accessories brands we have in South Australia is incredible, and they don’t have their own association, because they really all fall under fashion.”


A wide selection of these makers – both emerging and established – will be put on show during SA Fashion Weekend, but Helen says there are many more who she hopes SAFIA can platform at other events in the future.

“Our hope was to cover as many people as we can, but that’s impossible to do over a few runways,” she says. “Our bigger aim is 2024 as well, to set this as a template, and then to take it further and wider.”

Tickets to the SA Fashion Weekend runways are available here.

Connect with SAFIA on Instagram, or join the Facebook group.

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