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

One of Australia’s high-profile fashion editors has weighed in on this week’s Australian Fashion Week crowds, saying the new breed of reality stars and influencers bring ‘colour and fun’ to the event.

Kirstie Clements, who presided over Vogue Australia for 13 years, has rushed to the defense of D-list ‘nobodies’ after they came underfire for attending the event.

Unlike past years which have seen big name international stars like Kim Kardashian, Jade Jagger and Mischa Barton flown in for the event, many of this year’s invitees included Married At First Sight stars, Instagram influencers and ‘it girls’ from Sydney’s social circles.

‘Most of them look fabulous!’: One of Australia’s highest-profile fashion editors has weighed in on this week’s Australian Fashion Week crowds, saying the new breed of reality stars bring ‘colour and fun’ to the event (pictured here Domenica Calarco and Ella thing)

Kirstie Clements, one of the most powerful women in fashion and presided over Vogue Australia for 13 years, has rushed to the defense of D-list 'nobodies' who have come underfire for Australian Fashion Week

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

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

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

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

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

Spectators: Married At First Sight alum Domenica Calarco also sat in the front row at Australian Fashion Week with Ella Ding

Spectators: Married At First Sight alum Domenica Calarco also sat in the front row at Australian Fashion Week with Ella Ding

Amongst them were Bachelor alums 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 ex-rugby player Russell Fairfax.

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

‘The largest bunch of wannabe nobodies assembled in Sydney this year,’ gripped one online commenter.

Messy: Imogen Anthony made a mess of herself as she seductively drizzles melted chocolate into her mouth and almost burst out of her top during the week

Messy: Imogen Anthony made a mess of herself as she seductively drizzles melted chocolate into her mouth and almost burst out of her top during the week

‘It a dingy, tiny try-hard event with a bunch of wannabes. Just give up Sydney; it’s embarrassing,’ posted another.

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

‘Everyone has the right to participate and enjoy Fashion Week and that’s not me being woke… that’s the reality,’ Clements told Daily Mail Australia.

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

bad girl  Married At First Sight's Olivia Frazer ruffled some feathers at this year's Fashion Week when she sat in another attendees front row seat and then went underwear free at the event

bad girl  Married At First Sight's Olivia Frazer ruffled some feathers at this year's Fashion Week when she sat in another attendees front row seat and then went underwear free at the event

bad girl Married At First Sight’s Olivia Frazer ruffled some feathers at this year’s Fashion Week when she sat in another attendees front row seat and then went underwear free at the event

‘The audience is just as important as what is on the catwalk and I personally love to see all the different 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 that they have the right to participate rather than feeling shut out.

‘Fashion can’t afford to be like that anymore, it’s a numbers game and it should be something that is enjoyed by everyone regardless of what their background is.’

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

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

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

Colorful! 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 the guests attending AFW, and noted that the new era of influencers and reality stars ‘really know how to dress’.

‘I see people in my age group and we’re all still wearing black,’ Clements laughed.

‘Meanwhile you have all of these younger people with this incredible sense of style who have so much more inspiration to draw from compared to back when you had 12 issues of a magazine a year and that was it.

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

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

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

‘These days there’s a whole new world of information and I look around and see so much color everywhere it’s fantastic…it’s like a paint tin exploded.

‘I saw this young women wearing this amazing neon pink dress and all of these amazing accessories and she just looked fabulous.

‘I said to her, ‘you look absolutely fantastic’. I think back to when I was covering Fashion Week when we would drag ourselves there in a black pantsuit.

‘We have certainly come a long way.’

Clements seen here with Jennifer Hawkins in 2008

Clements seen here with Jennifer Hawkins in 2008

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

Event founder Simon Lock ultimately sold the rights to the event in 2005 to IMG for what was reportedly a multi-million dollar deal before it was re-named Rosemount Fashion Week until 2011.

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

AFW has been host to a number of iconic moments since its inception, none more so than 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 runway.

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