This year marks Melbourne Fashion Week’s (MFW) 25th anniversary, and as always the program shows off the best new designs, innovations and trends coming from Australian labels. MFW runs from August 28 to September 5, but it’s not too late to get your hands on tickets to some of the best events. Here’s a selection of highlights to help you whittle down the choices.

RUNWAYS

Town Hall Opening and Closing Runways
If you don’t have time to experience the whole of fashion week, consider attending one of the festival’s glamorous bookend events. The opening runway will pay respect to classic designers who have supported MFW over the past 25 years, while the closing night will feature experimental designers who are creating the future of fashion. Tickets start at $40 per show.

Opening Runway: Fri August 30, 7pm
Closing Runway: Thu September 5, 8.30pm
Melbourne Pavilion

Mod Markit
Following a free clothing swap dedicated to pre-loved modest clothes on August 31, modest fashion will get its moment in the spotlight at this Melbourne Pavilion runway show. Tickets are $30.

Sun September 1, 7pm
Melbourne Pavilion

Town Hall Runway 2 – Student Collections
Student runways provide a preview of what’s to come from emerging designers. This show will not only showcase student designs from Melbourne institutions such as RMIT and Whitehouse Institute of Design, but also from Ueda College of Fashion in Osaka (Melbourne’s sister city). Tickets start at $40.

Sun September 1, 6.30pm
Melbourne Town Hall

Poolside Runway
Combining the historical and the cutting edge, MFW will take over the Melbourne City Baths for a show featuring rugged athleisure labels like Huffer and The North Face. Tickets are $20.

Wed September 4, 1pm
Melbourne City Baths

Town Hall Runway 6
Dressing well shouldn’t mean compromising ethics. This show emphasising the importance of slow fashion and sustainability features designs by Búl, Chloe Mottau, Dress Up, Elk, Kalaurie, Kuwaii, Lois Hazel and Vovo. Tickets start at $40.

Wed September 4, 8.30pm
Melbourne Town Hall

FREE EVENTS

Free Fashion Pop Ups
These free pop-up shows in unconventional Melbourne locations will focus on themes such as maximalism and gender-neutral clothing. Sites include Southbank Promenade, the City Square Metro Tunnel site and Melbourne Airport, among others.

Capsule Collections
Fashion week’s capsule collections allow a drop-in experience for participants short on time. The capsules will be set up around the city and will take several forms, from a set-up at Southbank Promenade featuring First Nations designers to a bright and digital-centric exhibition at Southern Cross Station.

Various times and locations, from Thu August 6 to Thu September 5.

Exhibitionism: Contemporary Fashion Photography
Fashion isn’t just about the garments – it’s about how they’re styled and photographed too. Explore the work of both emerging photographers and lecturers of Melbourne’s Photography Studies College for a look at current and future leaders of fashion imagery.

August 28 to September 5, 9am–5pm
The Gallery at Library at the Dock

Concept of Japanese Fashion
Rather than being consumed by Western influences, Japanese designers incorporate those trends into their work to create a new aesthetic still rooted in Japanese identity. The talk will be in Japanese but translated to English.

Mon September 2, 10am
Photography Studies College, Southbank

WORKSHOPS

Sustainable Design Thinking
Learn how zero-waste designer and winner of last year’s International Redress Sustainable Design Award Tess Whitfort approaches sustainability in fashion, then learn how to make a zero-waste T-shirt. Tickets are $20.

Thu August 29, 6.30pm
Council of Adult Education

Up-Cycling Techniques
What do you do with that barely-worn, crumpled shirt in the back of your wardrobe? Upcycle it into something new. This class will teach you how to breathe new life into your garments with a few simple stitches. Tickets are $35 for students, $45 for general admission.

Sat August 31, 10am–3pm
The Masters Institute of Creative Education

SEE & DO

Vogue Fashion Night Out
Kick off your fashion week with food, drinks, DJs and exclusive offers at Fashion Night Out. This free all-day retail event includes offers from over 400 retailers in Melbourne’s CBD.

Thu August 29, 10am–10pm
Melbourne CBD

Replique L’otel
The team behind fashion label S!X will host live performances that put a contemporary spin on iconic garments by asking their creators to reimagine them in new forms. The performances will be held in secret locations revealed upon registration. The event is free, but tickets are expected to go fast.

Fri August 30, 3.30pm and 5.30pm
Secret Melbourne CBD location

Pendulum Studios Launch Party
Join zero-waste designer Tess Whitfort for the launch of her sustainable fashion label Pendulum Studios. Tickets start at $20 and include a drink and discount on any purchases made that night.

Sat August 31, 8pm
524 Flinders Street, Melbourne

Once Upon a Time in … Hollywood
Enjoy the flamboyant fashion of 1960s Los Angeles in Quentin Tarantino's latest film, Once Upon a Time in … Hollywood. Tickets start at $20 and include a pre-film bottled cocktail prepared by the Everleigh.

Tue September 3, 6pm
Palace Kino Cinema

EAT

After long days scoping out Australia’s best fashion talent, you’ll need some refreshments. These venues are offering great deals you can claim with a MFW ticket stub or program.

Ferdydurke
Have a boogie with a $7 Collins cocktail in hand, available for the duration of fashion week.

Arbory Bar & Eatery Take a load off your Louboutins riverside with a $10 Aperol Spritz.

Tetsujin
Hit up the barbeque or sushi train at this bright Japanese eatery and claim a free glass of sparkling wine.

Boatbuilders Yard
Ensure you shop but don’t drop with a $10 Espresso Martini.