David Jones Indigenous Fashion Projects Runway 202400094
A Joseph & James look from the David Jones x IFP show at Australian Fashion Week. Getty Images

AS A COUNTRY that’s defined by clichés of laidback beachside living, it’s not difficult to see why the ‘resort wear’ label applies so easily to Australian fashion. And menswear is no exception. Linen shirts and board shorts are basically our unofficial uniform, and while these pieces have well and truly earned their stripes, they offer a fairly limited view of menswear in Australia. Yes, we have scope. And while Australian Fashion Week is globally renowned for its resort collections, this year, we’ve seen plenty of designers serve looks that defy those easy-breezy stereotypes.

With no menswear-only brands on this year’s official schedule, it’s been the genderless and womenswear and designers – which are entering the menswear conversation in droves – that have been spearheading this week’s shift beyond those conventional resort horizons. 

For the marquee shows of Albus Lumen and Viktoria & Woods, for example, menswear silhouettes were revisited in swishy fabrics, soft lines and jewel tones. Tailoring also got a similarly sensual treatment at New Zealand-born Rory William Docherty’s show, with touches of metallic and silky layering. And in the fun corner, Emma Mulholland on Holiday injected its quintessentially colourful palette into matching sets, topped with nostalgic patterns for a quick mental trip to the shores of Venice Beach. And it’s always exciting to see what comes out of the Fashion Design Studios (FDS) TAFE show – those halls produced designers like Akira Isogawa and Dion Lee, after all.

And with more to come as the week rolls on, we’ll be tracking what new looks will redefine what we wear for the rest of the year. Here are some of the best looks so far.

The best menswear looks from the AFW runways

Gali Swimwear

The David Jones x Indigenous Fashion Projects runway is always a highlight of Australian Fashion Week. This year, the runway opened with a Welcome to Country and traditional dance, which set the scene for a moving show to follow. Men’s swimwear brand Gali Swimwear, an Aboriginal owned and designed brand that collaborates with Indigenous artists and communities to bring its pieces to life, served up some printed swim trunks and speedos in appropriately bright colours, because why should we hit the beach in anything less fun? The looks were accessorised with traditional dilly bags and necklaces, and finished off with shiny Asics sneakers.

Joseph & James

Designed by proud Gooreng Gooreng and South Sea Islander woman Juanita Page, Joseph & James is a sustainable menswear brand from Melbourne that you should most definitely have on your radar, for its wearable pieces with a preppy twist. On the runway, Page sent out some sublime cardigans, striped bowling shirts and shorts that hit the thigh in just the right place. Our favourite piece was a camp collar shirt printed with a retro-Australiana logo for ‘Joes Tyre Service’. We’ll be buying one the moment this delightful collection drops.

Alix Higgins

Now three AFW shows deep, Alix Higgins is fast emerging as Australia’s next It-boy designer. And that’s what gives his eponymous brand its zeitgeisty allure: Higgins’ clothes are charged with an electric here-and-nowness. Menswear standouts from the show were shirts with ruffled collars, his signature printed Lycra and dainty lace scarves that are less function and more fashion. Deconstruction was also a focal point of the highly-anticipated collection, with polos and shirts slashed and then sewn back together for a fresh take on layering.

Design Fashion Studio: The Innovators

Who Am U by Samara Darling.
Lychee Alkira by Renee Henderson.

With notable alumni including Akira Isogawa, Christopher Esber, and Dion Lee, the quality of talent produced at Sydney’s FDS TAFE is high. And this year’s runway was no exception, with young designers showing us the future of Australian fashion is bright. Who Am U by Samara Darling was a standout for its contrasting raw textiles and romantic jackets, as well as Lychee Alkira by Renee Henderson, who paid homage to Indigenous art through vibrant patterning and a clash of colour.

Emma Mulholland on Holiday

If traditional notions of resort wear are going to get a revamp anywhere, it’s at Emma Mulholland on Holiday. From matching sets in bright Aperol-orange to kitschy embroidery – which is having a moment in menswear right now – this season, the brand’s affinity for seaside nostalgia was given a Californian twist. But it was the runway set that really transported us to a tropical clime, with dolphins, beach umbrellas and an actual wave lurching out from the floor. The surf was up, and this collection – like everything Emma Mulholland touches – was pure joy.

Rory William Docherty

Crossing the Tasman Sea to make his AFW debut, emerging New Zealand-born Rory William Docherty brought romanticism to everyday styling. Suiting came in oversized silhouettes that swished off the body for more than enough room to move in. Meanwhile, crushed metallic textures on jackets and brooches suggest that these well-crafted clothes are not that precious, but rather ones to be lived and worn in comfortably.

Viktoria & Woods

Continuing its ethos for timeless and functional investment pieces, Viktoria & Woods’ first foray into menswear gave an uber relaxed structure to suiting and outerwear. Linen jackets were paired with shorts (taking notes!), and coats and double-breasted jackets became more languid in shape from their silken fabrications, favouring longer and generous silhouettes.

Albus Lumen

Drawing on its archive for the resort 2025 collection, Albus Lumen designer Marina Afonina posed the question of what it means to reinvent what’s already been done. She did this by finding new colour dyeing and fabrication techniques, which resulted in jackets and knit polo shirts that were distressed at the collars and hems. This shorts-over-pants moment was one of our favourite looks – a sure-fire way to turn a straightforward pair of jeans into a fun party fit.


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