The heavy winter coat is not only out -- it may be a thing of the past in Australia as temperatures rise and summers lengthen due to global warming.
Australian Fashion Week, which kicked off Tuesday in Sydney, has ditched the traditional autumn/winter tag in favour of "trans-seasonal" runway shows full of clothes that can be worn year-round.
Advertisement"We just don't have a need to do it any more," Fashion Week founder Simon Lock told AFP.
Lock said the move was partly the result of climate change, and partly due to the fact Australia has always enjoyed warmer weather than the traditional northern hemisphere fashion capitals of Milan, Paris and New York.
But he said as global temperatures rise, fashion houses and department stores around the world would face heavy winter clothing sitting ignored on racks as summer weather stretches well into autumn.
"Clothes just sit there, no one is buying them," Lock said. "These are things that dramatically affect business."
He said the issue has become such an industry-wide headache that some brands have hired climate experts to advise on which fabrics to use -- and on delivery schedules to get their clothing into stores at the right time.
"There's a lot of cities where climate change has an impact on what's now currently available in the stores," he said.
Lock said the Sydney shows, which will feature about 50 designers including newcomers Cable Melbourne, Donna Sgro and Daniel Avakian, would display clothing suitable for mild weather.
"They will not, in an international sense, be characterised by heavy fabrics. They will be trans-seasonal collections, they are lighter," he said.
Donna Sgro, whose show featured sleeveless, cotton dresses in primary colours and a navy coat made from a lightweight wool, said she designed her clothes with climate in mind.
"In Australia at the moment trans-seasonal collections are more versatile," she told AFP after her show. "With my coat, I used superfine wool that's really light. I can't foresee having a heavy coat in my range at this stage."
Alex Perry, who has shown in Sydney since 1996, said Australian designers had never produced extremely heavy clothing because winters here were relatively mild.
But he said winter clothing could not be totally forgotten.
"We can't do away with it, because you just don't know what's going to happen," he told AFP.
"You always need to have a great coat, a great jacket. And that's why I think the trans-seasonal collections are so important -- you cannot stretch your summer wardrobe for a year."
This year's trans-seasonal shows have been criticised for the absence of the best known Australian fashion designers such as Collette Dinnigan and Akira Isogawa, who this week were both showing their collections in Paris.
The shows also lack the number of designers and buyers seen at the spring/summer collections here in May.
But Perry, known for his custom-made evening dresses, said the emphasis on relatively unknown designers was important for the industry.
"There's always some bitching going on," he said. "But hey, this is the fashion industry."
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