Australian Fashion Week (AAFW) is the biggest event on the Aussie fashion calendar, and it's the perfect time to see the latest trends and designs from Australia's top designers. Whether you're an industry pro or a guest, we've got you covered with all the insider tips and tricks you need to make it through this whirlwind week of fashion!
This year, AAFW is taking place from May 15-19 in Sydney. There will be over 100 shows, presentations, events, and with so many amazing designers showcasing their collections, you're sure to see some incredible looks.
But let's be clear—it's not just about the clothes; it's about the people too. AAFW attracts a glittering constellation of fashion influencers, celebrities, and industry insiders who flock here each year to see and be seen.
If you're an industry pro, you're well aware that AAFW is the ultimate testing ground for showcasing your skills. But with days stretching into nights that seem endless, you must be prepared to stay on top of your game. Fear not! We've curated the ultimate survival guide for hair stylists and makeup artists at AAFW.
We spoke to some of our favourite stylists and AAFW alumni to ask for their top insider tips on surviving your first backstage experience.
- Be ready for anything.
Fashion week is the ultimate test of a hairdressers resilience, so be ready for anything! Think on your feet!
- Absorb your HOD’s instruction.
Each show is appointed one hairdresser or Creative Director to conceptualize and create a look to bring the designer's vision to life. They will be your HOD or “Head of Department” and offer you all your instructions on how to create the looks. Often the creative meetings where you receive your brief are very quick, so you have to be attentive, absorb everything they have to say (take notes!) and if you're unsure, ASK! Best believe they prefer questions in the creative meeting rather than on the day!
- Have your tools & kit clean and ready to go!
Most of the time shows are sponsored by specific brands, so product is not usually an issue, but you want to be sure any of your equipment is free of residue and all working well. Opt for multi use tools such as our Anti Static Volumising Comb and our Wet Dry Brush.
- Wear comfortable shoes and dress in layers.
Sometimes backstage can be sweltering hot with all the hot tools going in a small space, sometimes it can be super cold in an uninsulated warehouse! You're going to be standing on your feet all day, bending around multiple artists that may be working on one model at a time, thinking comfortably and functionally.
- Stay Hydrated and snacked up!
You won't always be provided with food and water at the shows and even if you are, you may not have the time to enjoy them! Keep water, snacks and energy drinks in your bag or kit to ensure you have enough energy to get you through the day!
- Pack your panadol!
Keeping panadol or nurofen in your kit is a lifesaver, often for others around you as much as yourself! Standing on your feet all day breathing in hairspray and forgetting to drink your water can take its toll and a thumping headache or sore feet can really hinder your performance. Failing keeping yourself hydrated and well nourished, pop a couple panadol the second you start to feel that dehydration headache coming on and you’ll be ready to go again.
Attending as a guest? The schedule can be just as grueling, and you have to run the gauntlet of 5 days parties, networking events & shows, all whilst looking your best. Being camera ready at any moment is not easy so here's our tips to attendees wanting to look like a seasoned AAFW pro:
- Plan your outfits ahead of time.
Make sure you have options that can take you from day to night. Outfits are easy to change into, but re-working your hair & makeup is always a little tricker. We recommend avoiding loading up product until the end of your event calendar, unless it’s our re-workable Prep & Play of course!
Make any look last longer, by priming your styles with Prep & Play.
This incredible hybrid cream will help your hair retain moisture, as well as act as a primer to give you the right amount of grip, essential for a great styling foundation.
Our girl Kaatya at NA Salon recommends using our Volumising Powder as a Dry Shampoo on fresh hair hair to prolong how long it stays looking and feeling fresh. Unlike most Dry Shampoos, this magic dust is extremely lightweight yet buildable, meaning even if you need to top up the next day, you won’t feel the buildup on your scalp.
- Sleep on a silk pillowcase.
This will help keep your style in as long as possible, so you can rework over multiple events. Hot tip? Forgo the silk scrunchie for one of our Creaseless Coils; they won't get lost between the sheets.
- Keep your handbag stocked with all your event essentials.
Think, extra bobby pins, ties, a powerpack and charger, touch up essentials, blister blocks and your trusty panadol to ensure you spend your AAFW slaying… comfortably!
Cover Image by Eleanor Baillieu
Pictured Influencer Jadé Brycki and Former Miss Universe Australia Olivia Molly Rogers, attending the Bianca Spender Show. Olivia's Hair was styled by Natalie Anne & her outfit was curated by Styled by Bloom.