No penguin suits as men’s clothing returns to runway

Anna Quan, which also showed on Tuesday, is traditionally a womenswear label, but included menswear for the first time. Utility trench coats, wide-legged trousers and loose-fitting shirts were the key looks.

“I wanted to provide a more complete offering,” said Anna Quan designer Anna Hoang, who celebrated her 10th year in business in 2023. “I am often asked when I will do menswear, and it felt like the right time.”

‘Uncomplicated, but elegant’

Ms Hoang’s men’s offering will be smaller than her womenswear, but designed in the same minimal way.

“Men want what women want from fashion – it should be uncomplicated but elegantly put together,” she said. “Men tend to stick to brands they love and buy less than women, but that doesn’t mean they don’t want great clothing.”

For Mr Kimber, who launched his business in 2014 and has two retail stores in Melbourne, showing at Fashion Week is a milestone.

“We wanted that validation of showing at Fashion Week,” he said. “But we wanted to wait until we were ready. We have seen peers and other brands grow quickly, take opportunities that they were not ready for, or investment that didn’t quite work out.” Mr Kimber’s business is self-funded.

The show featured a roster of non-model talent like David Bowen, CEO of Disability Care Australia, actors Lincoln Younes and Remi Hii, and journalist Steve Pennells. “We are a brand for real men,” Mr Kimber said. “It’s not for models or celebrities, it’s for guys who drop their kids to school, go to work and have normal lives.”

Experimenting with fabrics is part of his plan to make the brand more relevant to a wider audience.

“We are nearly 10 years old but I think we are still seen as a ‘Melbourne’ brand,” he said.

“We want to be an Australian Ralph Lauren – not Driza-Bone, but equally, not European tailoring. We want our fabrics and cuts to reflect the needs of Australian men, and we want to show that.”

A retail store in Sydney was forthcoming, he said.

Other brands to show menswear this week include Haulier, Wynn Hamlin and Albus Lumen.

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