Melbourne Fashion Festival sets model for copycats

Melbourne Fashion Festival / Stuart McEvoy

IF imitation is the highest form of flattery, nowhere is this more true than in the fickle world of fashion.

As soon as international designers send their collections down the catwalk, workers in factories around the world begin copying them to sell in chainstores at vastly reduced prices.

Knock-offs are a necessary evil of the industry, but rarely do they run beyond a dress, a blouse or any other item of clothing.

The Melbourne Fashion Festival, which opens today, has broken this rule.

The festival, which began 12 years ago, has been copied by Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Sydney, all eager to replicate Melbourne's success in driving retail sales, worth $20 million last year.

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