Confidential can reveal official organisers have adopted a “buyers over bloggers” mantra, prioritising chequebooks over Instagram followings as it fills seats at parades and shows.
For years fashion bloggers have infiltrated seats, touting their mass Instagram followings as vehicles for designers to promote their clothes.
Confidential can reveal that this year major brands requested fashion week organiser, IMG, shift its focus from social media influencers and celebrities to retail buyers because they offer a greater return on investment.
IMG vice-president of global fashion Andrew Serrano said they focused on bringing retail buyers and publications with reputable fashion credentials.
While he stopped short of criticising bloggers, he said priorities had shifted.
“We only bring editors and buyers. We don’t look at Instagram — we look at editors who will give them most coverage from an editorial perspective. Our job is to deliver on what the designers have been asking for,” Serrano said.
Big-name bloggers like Nicole Warne, Candice Lake, Jessica Stein and Amanda Shadforth had a considerably lower profile at fashion week, as has any international star power.
While local bloggers, including Mimi Elashiry, Tanja Gacic and Nadia Fairfax, have been allocated shows over the past few days, IMG has not prioritised influencer attendance.
Mr Serrano said that since focusing squarely on buyers with big budgets the event had seen a 30 per cent increase in retail attendance.
“Fashion week has traditionally been more focused on press but the designers have asked to see more retail outcomes from their shows. They were seeing great press but they wanted to see growth in sales,” he said.
This week more than 260 interstate stores attended, along with global giants including Saks Fifth Avenue, Farfetch and Altayer.
Each has arrived with fat chequebooks ready to shop the trans-seasonal pieces which sit on the retail floor over the lucrative Christmas period.
“We made a really big push to bring more interstate buyers as well as international,” Ms Serrano said.
It can cost brands up to $20,000 to show on schedule at fashion week, so emerging brands want wholesale orders to move hundreds of units.
“So far, the feedback has been amazing,” Mr Serrano said.