Former Vogue boss defends reality TV stars and influencers attending Australian Fashion Week

One of Australia’s top fashion editors weighed in on the crowds at Australian Fashion Week this week, saying the new breed of reality stars and influencers are bringing “color and fun” to the event.

Kirstie Clements, who chaired Vogue Australia for 13 years, rushed to the defense of List D ‘nobodies’ after they were criticized for attending the event.

Unlike years past which saw big-name international stars like Kim Kardashian, Jade Jagger and Mischa Barton jet off to the event, many of this year’s guests included Married At First Sight stars, Instagram influencers and ” it girls” from Sydney social circles.

“Most of them look fabulous!” : One of Australia’s hottest fashion editors weighed in on the crowds at this week’s Australian Fashion Week, saying the new breed of reality stars are bringing “color and fun” to the event (photo here Domenica Calarco and Ella Ding)

Kirstie Clements, one of fashion's most powerful women and who presided over Vogue Australia for 13 years, has rushed to the defense of

Kirstie Clements, one of fashion’s most powerful women and who chaired Vogue Australia for 13 years, has rushed to the defense of D-list ‘nobodies’ who have come under fire for Australian Fashion Week

Not Judge-ing: Former biker associate Mark Judge was spotted mingling with models, including Elise Zecevic, at Australian Fashion Week

Not Judge-ing: Former biker associate Mark Judge was spotted mingling with models, including Elise Zecevic, at Australian Fashion Week

Front row: He sat between Married At First Sight stars Brett Vitello and Jack Millar on Wednesday

Front row: He sat between Married At First Sight stars Brett Vitello and Jack Millar on Wednesday

Onlookers: Married at First Sight alum Domenica Calarco also sat front row at Australian Fashion Week with Ella Ding

Onlookers: Married at First Sight alum Domenica Calarco also sat front row at Australian Fashion Week with Ella Ding

Among them were Bachelor graduates Brittany Hockley, Laura Byrne and Anna Heinrich, MAFS stars Olivia Frazer, Domenica Calarco, Ella Ding, Brett Vitello and Jack Millar, former NRL WAG Phoebe Burgess and socialite Nadia Fairfax – daughter of former rugby player Russell Fairfax.

Also spotted were influencers Bella Varelis and Jadé Tuncdoruk, TV presenter Renee Bargh, model Simone Holtznagel and her sister Madeline, Kyle Sandilands’ ex Imogen Anthony, athlete Amy Pejkovic and even former biker associate Mark Judge.

“The largest group of unknown wannabes have gathered in Sydney this year,” said one online commentator.

Messy: Imogen Anthony messed up as she seductively drizzled melted chocolate into her mouth and almost burst out of her top during the week

Messy: Imogen Anthony messed up as she seductively drizzled melted chocolate into her mouth and almost burst out of her top during the week

“It’s a crummy and difficult little event with a bunch of wannabes. Just ditch Sydney; it’s embarrassing,” posted another.

However, Clements, who was seen attending several shows at the event this week, praised the eclectic mix of guests and said the new breed of celebrities reflected fashion’s “new accessibility”.

“Everyone has the right to participate and enjoy Fashion Week and it’s not me who’s woken up…it’s the reality,” Clements told Daily Mail Australia.

“Yeah, it’s not as elite as it used to be, but you know what? Fashion is entertainment.

Bad girl!  Olivia Frazer, married to First Sight, ruffled a few feathers at this year's Fashion Week when she sat in the front row of another attendee, then walked out without her underwear at the event .

Bad girl!  Olivia Frazer, married to First Sight, ruffled a few feathers at this year's Fashion Week when she sat in the front row of another attendee, then walked out without her underwear at the event .

Bad girl! Olivia Frazer, married to First Sight, ruffled a few feathers at this year’s Fashion Week when she sat in the front row of another attendee, then walked out without her underwear at the event .

“The audience is just as important as what happens on the podium and personally I like to see all kinds of people in the front row.

“It’s a really fascinating mix of people who all seem so confident and fun.

“It’s great that they feel they have the right to participate rather than feeling left out.

“Fashion can’t afford to be like this anymore, it’s a numbers game and it should be something everyone enjoys, no matter where they come from.”

Busty display: Simone and Madeline Holtznagel turned up the heat when they went braless to one of the shows

Busty display: Simone and Madeline Holtznagel turned up the heat when they went braless to one of the shows

Colored!  Former Bachelor star Anna Heinrich, left, attended the Aje show with model Nikki Phillips, middle, and TV presenter Renee Bargh, far right

Colored! Former Bachelor star Anna Heinrich, left, attended the Aje show with model Nikki Phillips, middle, and TV presenter Renee Bargh, far right

Clements also applauded the style of guests at AFW and noted that the new era of influencers and reality stars “really know how to dress.”

“I see people my age and we always wear black,” Clements laughed.

“Meanwhile, you have all these young people with this incredible sense of style who have so much more inspiration to draw from than when you had 12 issues of a magazine a year and that was it.”

Models walk the Michael Lo Sordo and Bec + Bridge shows during this year's Australian Fashion Week

Models walk the Michael Lo Sordo and Bec + Bridge shows during this year's Australian Fashion Week

Models walk the Michael Lo Sordo and Bec + Bridge shows during this year’s Australian Fashion Week

“Nowadays there’s a whole new world of information and I look around and see so many colors everywhere, it’s fantastic…it’s like a can of paint exploding.”

“I saw this young lady wearing this amazing neon pink dress and all these amazing accessories and she looked just fabulous.

“I said to him, ‘you are absolutely fantastic’. I think back to when I was covering Fashion Week where we were hanging out there in a black pantsuit.

“We’ve certainly come a long way.”

Clements seen here with Jennifer Hawkins in 2008

Clements seen here with Jennifer Hawkins in 2008

Run by US company IMG, Australian Fashion Week has seen a number of major changes since it launched in Sydney in 1996, when it was led by designers like Akira Isogawa and Alex Perry.

Event founder Simon Lock eventually sold the rights to the event in 2005 to IMG for what would have been a multi-million dollar deal before it was renamed Rosemount Fashion Week until 2011.

Mercedes-Benz then took over the naming rights before AfterPay stepped in as a sponsor in 2020.

AFW has been host to a number of iconic moments since its inception, including Kristy Hinze modeling a giant python around her neck during an appearance for Tigerlily in 2001 – the same year Ksubi designers Dan Single and Gareth Moody made headlines by sending hundreds of rats down the track.

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