10 free things to do at Melbourne Fashion Week

When most people think of Melbourne Fashion Week, they think of the runways. But there’s actually a massive fashion festival happening all throughout the city. From exclusive shopping nights to exhibitions and fun events, MFW is more than just a week of runways.
Here are ten free things you can do at MFW that don’t require a VIP pass.

Three models dressed in various high end fashion standing outdoors in front of a large heritage building

Melbourne Fashion Week

Visit the MFW forecourt

You don’t need to be attending a runway to join the party this year at Melbourne Fashion Week. Head to the MFW forecourt at Town Hall to experience the buzz of fashion week with free entertainment, a pop-up bar, and a bunch of fun activations. While you’re there, check out a preview of Australian Fashion Council’s curated collection of wearable pieces from independent fashion labels at the MFW Marketplace.

A large historic building with pop up structures out the front

The forecourt at Town Hall

Spruce up your hat for spring

Spring is approaching, and with the warmer weather comes spring racing season. If you’re already wondering what to wear to Melbourne’s biggest sporting event, why not join expert milliner Louise MacDonald for a free hat-making workshop. Bring an old piece along for a tutorial on how to reshape, resize and revive your hat into something modern and spectacular. Giddy up.

MFW street runways

Although the Town Hall holds the official runways for MFW, the street runways are where all the fun happens. Head to one of four runways held at various locations around town for a free sneak peek at what’s to come for this year’s spring/summer fashion season.

Models walking down a laneway in an outdoor runway with photographers along the sides

Street runways

Shop at String Bean Alley

A collection of bespoke stalls featuring clothing, vintage and jewellery await at Melbourne’s newest laneway – and to celebrate MFW, String Bean Alley will be hosting free workshops, music, and meet the maker talks. Grab a drink at the pop-up bar and while away the weekend, soaking up the fashion atmosphere.

Vogue American Express Fashion’s Night Out

There are almost too many amazing offers up for grabs at VAEFNO this year to mention (so stay tuned to our Instagram page for our favourites later this week!). However, here are a few that caught our eye…
Enter stage left NYC style at Melbourne Central for their massive street party, featuring free lamington cocktails, giveaways and a virtural reality ‘Central Perk’ couch straight out of Friends.
Emporium Melbourne are hosting a Smoke and Mirrors pop-up bar with a photobooth, offering a complimentary smoking Passionfruit Spritz or Americano cocktail and a chance to win some pretty amazing prizes.
St. Collins Lane will be transforming into Melbourne’s very own New York street party with a range of New York-inspired giveaways, a runway at 1pm, and a DJ spinning tunes from 12pm in the food hall.

A bustling shopping centre with people going up and down escalators

Party at Melbourne Central for VAEFNO

Modest Fashion Runway

The Modest Fashion Runway is dedicated to fashion lovers from diverse backgrounds, cultures and lifestyles, and is a first for MFW. This runway will celebrate innovative and eclectic designers from around the world who create beautiful clothing for women seeking modest fashion.

They Shield Us exhibition

Head to Koorie Heritage Trust at Fed Square to see this amazing exhibition of First Nations jewellery. ‘They Shield Us’ highlights how First Nations women adorn their bodies to harness the strength and power of their Ancestors and how their bodies are carriers of thousands of years of cultural knowledge.

MFW Pop Ups

This year, you might see a runway walk past you without even knowing it. The MFW Pop Ups are a fun celebration of roving fashion that takes the catwalk to the streets, with a series of ‘runways gone rogue’ all over town. The first pop up will make its way down Southbank Promenade, the second around Bourke St Mall and GPO, and the third down our iconic Collins Street. Check out the details of each event to catch them in action.

Models in street wear lined up at a tram stop in a city street

Pop-up runways

Learn about Japanese fashion

If you’re a budding Japanophile, this is the event for you. Learn more about how Western fashion takes its cues from Japanese style and see how Japanese fashion maintains its unique identity. Don’t speak Japanese? Don’t worry – there will be a translator on hand for those seeking an English version too.

Fashion photography at its finest

Most of our emotional attachment to fashion icons over time has come from amazing fashion photography that speaks to us on a visual level. See what’s in store for the future of fashion at Exhibitionism: Contemporary Fashion Photography, which showcases the images of some of Melbourne’s emerging leaders in fashion photography.