The City is once again supporting Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia, to promote Australian designers on a global stage. I also encourage you to visit The Design Residency (72 Oxford Street, Paddington) where graduates from Raffles College are displaying their runway collections.

It starts next week and Pitt Street Mall will be transformed into a fashion hub, attracting more visitors into the city and enticing shoppers with retail events, while giant screens will stream the shows live from the catwalk.

Another highlight is the Fashion Weekend Edition, 21 May at Carriageworks, which will showcase Australia’s best and brightest designers on the runway as well as beauty workshops and the opportunity to mingle with the models backstage before the shows.

Supporting events like this promote and encourage our creative sector while bringing more people into our city, which in turn helps boost retail sales during the launch of new season collections.

I was pleased to speak at the opening of The Design Residency on Wednesday night and it was fabulous to see the work of this group of talented young people, which is on display in part because of the City’s STEP program. STEP is our Short Term Empty Property program, which makes vacant inner city spaces available on a temporary – and affordable – basis for creative projects. Our tenant, The Design Residency, collaborated with Raffles on a great mentoring project that culminates in the collections on display.

Making these vacant spaces available is just one aspect of our commitment to supporting the creative and innovative enterprises that contribute so much to our culture and economy.

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