Chief Executive Officer of VAMFF, Australia
With a burning passion for fashion, creativity and innovation, Graeme Lewsey has made his way to the top as the CEO of the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival (VAMFF).
As a graduate of arts and design from RMIT University, he describes himself as a “moth that’s attracted to everything and anything that’s creative”.
He was awarded ‘Australian Young Designer of The Year’ by Woolmark after graduating from the Bachelor of Arts in RMIT. It followed with more than a decade of working with leading fashion brands, retailers and marketing agencies in Europe.
But it didn’t start off so smoothly as Graeme candidly recalls that he disliked how Australia was rather awkward and backward in fashion when he was a young graduate.
“I grew up in the outskirts of Melbourne and desperately wanted to be part of the fashion scene, but Australia at that time was so slow,” said Graeme.
After graduating, he went to London and had the opportunity to work on incredible projects where he stayed on for about 12 years.
Graeme climbed the ladder quickly by working hard and networking- “going to the right parties and met the right people, some were movers and shakers of the industry”, he quipped.
The big highlight of his career was working with acclaimed fashion designer, Paul Smith.
“He suggested that I’ll be great with PR and marketing and I went to become a small PR officer for the Paul Smith brand.”
Graeme finally returned to Australia in 1997 and found that it changed. “It was suddenly new and the country had become more connected to Europe and Asia.
“We’re very conscious about trends and we pick up things quickly as we’re very fortunate to live in this environment where designers are easily inspired. Resort wear and sophisticated casual wear is a big thing in the industry. We’re also adopting a lot of inspiration from countries in Asia.”
He thinks that the tourism industry is also evolving from the traditional tourist spots to the growth of a more sophisticated retail tourism.
“They want to see art, fashion and the lifestyle. Tourists are enjoying what bespoke Australian designers have to offer. If we can make it big in Asia, that’ll be a terrific outcome for our industry.”
Graeme claims that the much anticipate VAMFF (held from March 7-13) is different from other festivals because it is consumer centric – not just for the big wigs or VIPs.
“We have a big budget for our shows because we have to replicate the quality and effect of high-end runway shows of Paris and London as that’s what visitors are expecting.”
The show is starting to engage on the international marketplace where there are Chinese and Indonesian designers showcasing the best of their creative works.
Graeme Lewsey表示，3月7日-15日举行的VAMFF迥异于其他节目，是以一般消费者为中心- 不仅是为名人或者贵宾打造。