SYDNEY — Northern runways aren’t the only ones suffering from schedule-creep. Both of this region’s high-profile runway events are bringing forward the dates of their autumn-winter 2007 showcases.

The annual Air New Zealand Fashion Week has moved its show up a month to run Sept. 19-22 at Auckland’s Viaduct Harbour Marine Village.

Under a soon-to-be-announced new naming rights sponsor, the event formerly known as Mercedes Australian Fashion Week is also moving the dates of its autumn-winter showcase forward. Launched in November 2002 at Melbourne’s Federation Square — six years after the debut of the better-known spring-summer show in Sydney — the autumn-winter event has since oscillated between dates in late October.

IMG Fashion Asia Pacific managing director Simon Lock told WWD in October that the event’s autumn-winter 2007 showcase would be brought forward to better meet the selling cycle of the local industry. The decision followed a significant drop in exhibitor numbers in October — right under the nose of a delegation from IMG’s New York and Hong Kong offices, which had flown out just weeks after IMG’s acquisition of the event.

At press time Lock had not yet confirmed a new date. According to industry speculation, however, it will likely take place the first week of September, alongside Melbourne Spring Fashion Week, a consumer retail festival.The timing also would bring AFW head-to-head with the larger, volume-focused Fashion Exposed, which runs Sept. 3-5 at the Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Centre. Organizers of Australian Exhibitions & Conferences are expecting around 600 exhibitors and 8,000 attendees, up from 460 and 7,441, respectively, last September, in a total floor space of 264,000 square feet.

Air New Zealand Fashion Week managing director Pieter Stewart is not too concerned about the fact that the show’s new dates run concurrently with London Fashion Week. Even if it means the possibility that one former NZ runway star, Karen Walker, can’t show in Auckland because she is due to show that week in London.

“Most of the designers had already sold their collections by mid-October; in fact, most of them struggled to get their collections together for Fashion Week in October,” Stewart said of the date change.

Of the clash with London, she noted: “We’ve brought London buyers out and they might buy for a season or two and then don’t follow through. Our designers decided that most of the buyers that they’re interested in don’t go to London Fashion Week. What they’ve had to do is be realistic about the markets that work for them: Australia — hugely; Asia is a developing market that is working well, and the [United] States.”

For complete coverage, see WWD’s International Trade Show supplement, inside tomorrow’s WWD.