When the going gets weird... the weird turn frow


martin margiela SS09/daily mail

Did you have any doubt that Rosemount Australian Fashion Week SS1011 risks turning into a blogocalypse? Representing a mere whisper of RAFW coverage back in 2006, when The Sydney Morning Herald's online arm smh.com.au published what frockwriter understands was the first RAFW blog (authored by yours truly - even if grassroots bloggers would most likely not consider it a blog), bloggers’ numbers have grown each year in the interim. Bryanboy generated coverage in 2008, his first OS fashion week outing. Last year, several high profile bloggers arrived, upping the indie reportage ante. Yet more blogstars are about to descend on Sydney for next week's event, from Tommy Ton to Susie Bubble, Scott Schuman and Garance Doré. Australian celebrity Lara Bingle isn't a blogger per se, but that hasn't stopped Harpers Bazaar Australia from announcing they will launch the scandal-magnet into blog orbit.

And of course a swag of local blog names are planning to attend. Some with official accreditations - others not.

Last week the buzz on Twitter about ticketing/accreditation triumphs or tragedies reached fever pitch, prompting the beginnings of a backlash, with bloggers accused by their social media peers of everything from having “a misguided sense of ticket-entitlement” to outright “lying”. One party sniffed “its not miss America”, warning all those currently high-fiving each other on Twitter, that “most will be standing”.

Oh the drama.

One group of players has thus far managed to slip under the radar.

Enter Australian INFront and its ragtag team of bloggers, some above-the-line - two of them planning to take anonymous potshots from backstage and behind-the-scenes.

The decade-old digital-specialist design website will trial a new events coverage system for RAFW. In fact the site goes live tonight - head to the home page and look for the "RAFW" button:



Team leader is Cairns retailer Lorena Mercado, who operates a boutique called We’re.

Mercado is married to digital-specialist graphic designer Damien Aistrope (who has built content management system sites for a plethora of Australia fashion names).

Now, Mercado will be attending RAFW as an accredited buyer. So will one member of her reporting team: jewellery designer and online retailer, Alicia Hannah Naomi from Melbourne (Sea of Ghosts).

According to Mercado, the duo did try to register as media delegates, but they were knocked back by IMG - and their enquiries about access to the media centre have thus far gone unanswered. (UPDATE 29/04: Surprise, surprise. The duo has just received media accreditation - two of numerous last-minute media accreditations that frockwriter has heard were cleared in the last 24 hours).

A third team member, Adelaide design student Selina Battersby has media accreditation under her own blog.

Mercado has already loaded 10 designer biographies on the INFront site, with five new bios to be added per day for the rest of this week and coverage added throughout each day of the event. A Twitter widget on the page will aggregate all the team’s #RAFW Australian INFront Tweets.

There are two other members of the reporting team and yes, they too are bloggers. They’re also models. Anonymous models.

Currently blogging under the hybrid name of "MUTT", which could be an amalgam of their names - or not - they have been quietly blogging away for the past couple of months on an “art project” called Heyweird. To add to the surreal nature of this new startup, it consists of interviews with anonymous subjects. Potentially among them, other Australian models. Frockwriter wonders, for example, if Catherine McNeil could be the subject of the latest post which discusses modelling and an upcoming marriage to another woman.

According to Mercado, both are “high profile” Australians with work experience in New York and London, which somewhat narrows down the field. If they really wanted to cover their tracks, they could be a little more discreet. Frockwriter has done more than her fair share of anonymous model blogger reportage, so we do look forward to this latest chapter.

How does Mercado plan on wrangling their backstage dispatches? Via the old school way apparently. Mercado told frockwriter:


“They’re going to be transcribing interviews on paper and handing to me....they will be interviewing designers, production assistants, stylists... anyone involved in the creative process”.

Let the games begin.