New South Wales (NSW) state government announced that it would invest around AU$500 million (US$380 million) to turn the Powerhouse Museum complex into a fashion and design hub.
The country’s fashion industry insiders termed this as the single major investment in arts and culture.
The funding will allow the museum to focus on presenting fashion exhibitions and programs that support the design and fashion industries as well as the establishment of a creative industries zone delivering subsidized studios and workspaces for fashion designers.
Lisa Havilah, Chief Executive, Powerhouse said, “We’re resetting what a museum can and should be, not just for a community, but for an industry.”
“We’ve looked at how we can support the fashion industry in multiple ways, increasing the visibility of Australian fashion but also investing in resources to help sustain makers in their creative practice,” Havilah added.
Designer Mary-Lou Ryan, Co-Founder of Sydney-based brand Bassike, said this started a new way of viewing the relationship between culture and commerce in Australia.
Ryan added, “It proves a commitment to bring design and fashion to the forefront, which in turn creates and supports business opportunities.”
In a media release, Australia’s Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources highlighted the importance of its scheme, “To support the design and development of an Australian fashion certification trademark, promoting and endorsing the high quality of locally designed and produced products to key overseas markets.”
Edwina McCann, Editorial Director of the Australian editions of Vogue, Vogue Living and GQ said, “This is the most significant federal funding in support of our Australian designers and remaining local manufacturing community in decades.”
“It’s come when they need it most, and when the e-commerce and social media-led, direct-to-consumer export market has evolved to best take advantage of the opportunities the grant will create,” McCann added.
Designers gathered at the recent Powerhouse Museum event in the Ultimo district of Sydney, Australia. Back row (L-R) Edwina Robinson, Alexandra Smart, Camilla Franks, Bianca Spender, Genevieve Smart, Yousef Akbar; front row (L-R) Luke Sales, Jordan Gogos, Jenny Kee, Anna Plunkett. Daniel Boud.
McCann thinks the grant will be critical for job generation and serve to support small businesses.
“It will also assist our unique fashion industry to export an image and wares which reflect our desirable Australian lifestyle to the world,” told McCann.