May 22, 2014

Access Granted

We all want we can't have, or at least what we think we can't have. However in today's world with the onset of technology, the internet, and globalization, this is practically irrelevant because we can have it all, no matter where we are. While Australia may be thousands of miles away and a 20 plus hour flight, it is finally catching up to the rest of the world and becoming a hub for both imports and exports of the hottest internationally recognized brands.

What we know is, Australian shoppers prefer to shop online and reportedly contributed to over $15 billion in online retail sales over the last year, and that only continues to strengthen. E-commerce not only gives access to these foreign labels, but also the power to choose among an endless array of products that were never available to them before. With most big and small name brands offering shipping around the world, retailers have been able to experiment across the Australian market and understand the growing potential, causing some to expand into the Southern Hemisphere.

photo via Australian Vogue

Stores that were once filled with solely Australian labels, are now being exposed to a plethora of cutting-edge fashion labels from around the world that offer entirely new shopping experiences. Not to mention such global hard hitters like Uniqlo, H&M, and Tod's have just opened up shop and Sephora is next. At the moment, there is no real beauty chain of its kind present in Australia, apart from department store cosmetic counters, pharmacies, and independent brands. With an expected launch date in early 2015, two of Australia's biggest department chains are already keen to do what JC Penney has done with Sephora and integrate it into its stores. In lieu of such success in Asia, the one-stop makeup haven has instead decided to open up standalone stores and it's really going to shake up the market.

However, shopping these overseas retailers comes with a fee as a new survey exposes the discrepancies in pricing between Australian brick and mortar and retailers' international online stores. By comparing fast fashion brands like ASOS, Gap, Topshop, and Zara, it's pretty clear that Australians are paying as much as a 35% premium on merchandise. Meanwhile, retailers are blaming price increases on local taxes, freight, and labour expenses. To make matters worse, these e-commerce sites are equipped with geo-blocking features that direct shoppers to a specific online store based on their location so they are unable to shop at a fairer price from a different country.

photo via Refinery29

In the interim of this Northern Hemisphere invasion, Australians are beginning to make a name for themselves elsewhere. Besides well known Sass & Bide, Dion Lee, and Zimmerman who have already paved the way north, a fresh group of talent is following right in their footsteps. While many of Australia's best kept secrets still remain stateside like uber trendy fashion labels Witchery, Finders Keepers, and Cameo, a few are making their way over to us here in the USA.

photo via Oneteaspoon

A favorite among many and available at hot spots like Revolve Clothing, ASOS, and Free People, Oneteaspoon is the epitome of Australia's rebellious spirit. The label made its official debut in 2000 after designer Jamie Walsham caught a bus from Queensland to Sydney at age 18 and set the precedence for its signature rock'n'roll attitude. Fast forwarding to today, Oneteaspoon is now stocked in 32 countries across the globe, worn by Emma Roberts, Vanessa Hudgens, Alessandra Ambrosio among many other "it" girls, and has even expanded into homewares.

photo via Refinery29

Bec and Bridge is the brainchild of Sydney duo Becky Cooper and Bridget Yorston and is about to change the way you wear denim. The pair initially launched the label well over a decade ago and their sexy body-con dresses and skirts are finally picking up speed in the US. Their most recent collection entitled "Indigo," bears the same name as their source of inspiration, a coffee table book by Catherine Legrand. With a modern take on denim, the line is full of patchwork jackets, raw edged chambray and indigo tweed that is polished off with additions of 3D mesh, silk pinstripes, and gorgeous batik patterns.

So despite news that the Australian market is undergoing a fashion crisis, it's really just more of an overall shift. For the Aussies, shopping domestically just isn't cool. While that will eventually change as they gain the same access as the rest of the world, the fashion industry down under has a lot of development ahead of it first. As with everywhere else, brands move in and out depending on the demand and right now going global is the thing to do, the only thing to do. 

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