2015 marks the 20th anniversary of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia (it was known as Rosemount Australian Fashion Week from 2006 until 2011 before being passed back to Mercedes), an international fashion event that places Sydney – and Australian labels – on the world stage.

In this time MBFWA has helped solidify the reputations of iconic Australian labels and reveal the genius of young guns – from Ksubi’s infamous rat-filled runway in 2001, to the debut of design legend Dion Lee in a Kings Cross car park in 2009, to any one of the amazing, mystical sets created by Romance Was Born.

We spoke with some seminal Australian labels to discuss their favourite moments from fashion weeks past ahead of this year’s landmark event.

First Show
“It was 2006, with our Weird Science show. We had our friend Vivienne open the show with a sexy scientist dance; there was an explosion and everything. It was one of the first collections we collaborated on with Del Kathryn Barton.”
Anna Plunkett, Romance Was Born

Why it’s important
“It’s extremely important! Sydney Fashion Week is the only opportunity most Australian designers get to showcase their label and really show people their aesthetic.”
Alice McCall

“We need to create interest in our local industry, especially at the moment – when there’s so much competition. We think it’s important to carve our own signature.”
Anna Plunkett, Romance Was Born

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Favourite Memory
“A very young Miranda Kerr got ready to walk down the runway at our show in 2005. I said to her, Y ou look amazing, when you get to the end of runway, just hold it and “work it” for the cameras’. After the show we couldn’t make enough stock to keep up with demand for the dress she wore. We still receive requests for it 10 years later.”
Nic Briand, Lover

How it’s Evolved
“It’s been exciting to see the event grow over the time I have been involved. The local industry has become more globally focused and it will be exciting to see how it evolves in the years to come.”
Dion Lee

"I think fashion in general has changed so much since we started. When we were establishing our brand it was really creative and shows seemed more exciting. Now it seems a little flat with trends that are happening. And nowadays it’s so competitive to secure sponsors, too. So I think that makes a huge difference.”
Anna Plunkett, Romance Was Born

Most significant MBFWA experience
“Our 10-year anniversary show at the Sydney Opera House in 2011. It left a lasting impression on the industry , it set a benchmark and confirmed to everyone what Lover stands for, and what we are capable of achieving.”
Nic Briand, Lover

“Last year’s show celebrated 10 years of the label and was a really important show for me. I had the pleasure of working closely with [stylist] Mark Vassallo to create a breathtaking finale. Lots of people told me after that they were moved to tears!”
Alice McCall

MBFWA takes place from April 12-16 at Carriageworks.