SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MAY 16:  Models walk the runway during the Ten Pieces show at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Resort 20 Collections at Bondi Icebergs on May 16, 2019 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images)

SYDNEY — For Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia’s 25th anniversary year in 2020, IMG is experimenting with an integrated consumer format.

For the event’s resort 2021 showcase, which is due to run from May 11 to 15 at Sydney’s Carriageworks and other venues across the city, IMG will offer the public access to the event for the first time.

Called MBFWA: The Experience, the pilot initiative will replace the five-year-old, consumer-facing Mercedes-Benz Fashion Weekend Edition, which has dovetailed off the main trade event since 2014. Under a new revenue-sharing initiative with participating designers, IMG will open up 25 percent of seats at select Fashion Week Australia runway shows over the five days to the public, in addition to seminars and other special events.

At time of writing the schedule was still under development; however, participating shows will include at least one “headline” show involving an established Australian designer brand each evening, plus select on-site and off-site shows and events throughout the week.

Unlike a similar initiative launched by the British Fashion Council at London Fashion Week in September, which sold tickets to a parallel series of consumer-facing shows for Alexa Chung, House of Holland and Self Portrait over the weekend of Sept. 14 and 15, consumers in Sydney will get to see brands unveil their wholesale resort 2021 collections over the five days of Fashion Week Australia’s core schedule and at the same time as buyers and press.

To be sold via the web site, ticket prices will start at 119 Australian dollars, or $81. IMG declined to comment on whether front row seats will be on offer. Seminars and “masterclasses” will be priced at 69 Australian dollars, or $47, with specialty offers to include a VIP experience and student packages.

“After 25 years, we have a huge opportunity to define the future of Fashion Week Australia ” said Natalie Xenita, executive director of IMG’s fashion events group, Asia-Pacific region. “The resort ‘21 schedule will include special events to celebrate and commemorate the Australian fashion industry, and, at the same time, embrace a new format that reflects the cultural shifts impacting our global fashion industry today. Curated in collaboration with industry thought leaders, the new Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia will embrace the consumer and go beyond the runway to create immersive experiences rooted in the cultural conversation.”

IMG said it is expecting more than 26,000 industry guests and consumers to attend the resort 2021 showcase, including about 1,600 industry professionals from more than 20 countries.

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