BIRTHDAY BASH: Two hundred people feted the Australian Fashion Chamber‘s first birthday on Monday night on the rooftop of the AMP Building overlooking Sydney’s Circular Quay. They also enjoyed a bird’s eye view of UK design studio Universal Everything’s spectacular light show takeover of the sails of the Sydney Opera House, part of the Vivid Sydney 2015 light and music festival.

Joining Vogue Australia editor-in-chief and AFC chair Edwina McCann and her deputy chair and editor-in-chief of Harpers Bazaar Australia, Kellie Hush, were a number of the fledgling industry advocacy body’s 42-strong designer membership. They included Dion Lee, Christopher Esber, Camilla and Marc Freeman, Bianca Spender, Rachel and Alex Sims and Beth and Tessa Macgraw.

Launched in March 2014, the organization has facilitated mentorships and staged seminars to promote Australia’s embattled 12 billion Australian dollar ($8.6 billion) fashion retail sector.

During the Fall 2015 show season in March, two international receptions were also organized in New York and at the Australian Embassy in Paris, the latter an installation featuring the work of six designers called Australian Designers Abroad.

The plan, said McCann, is to stage two Designers Abroad in Paris each March and October and a resort showroom in New York each June in a bid to lure buyers.

Dion Lee, who just returned from presenting an AFC-facilitated show at Singapore Fashion Week, voiced support for the plan. “I think just being able to centralize the industry and create a voice that can speak volumes to government and other sectors is extremely powerful,” he said.

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