After one of the worst years for the Australian fashion industry with casualties including Bettina Liano, Kirrily Johnston and Lisa Ho going into liquidation, with Marnie Skillings and Colette Dinnigan closing shop and Alannah Hill and Kit Willow departing their brands, just to name a few, the industry is hoping for a turnaround this year celebrating the 20th anniversary of Australian fashion week from April 12 to 16 in Sydney.

The official schedule of the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia (MBFWA) includes more than 50 designers showing their SS15/16 collections among them Alice McCall, Bec & Bridge, Ginger & Smart, Tome, Kate Sylvester, By Johnny, We Are Handsome and Romance Was Born.

But while organisers insist the event reflects the country’s diverse design talent with veterans such as Akira Isogawa - the only designer who also showed his wares at the first event 20 years ago – as well as new talent such as Casper & Pearl and House of Cannon, the real big names in Australian fashion such as Dion Lee, Zimmermann or Sass & Bide have long left the country presenting their designs overseas.

Only the sponsor’s invitation could lure designer Kym Ellery back to local shores, opening Fashion Week with a collection modified from the one she showed in Paris earlier this year.

Certainly a nice idea to mark the event’s anniversary but enough to give the industry the much needed boost and lure more international buyers to the fifth continent? Interestingly the Australian-born designers behind successful New York-based womenswear label Tome, Ryan Lobo and Ramon Martin who were coaxed to Sydney to show at MBFWA for the first time this year said in an interview 2014 that they couldn’t have built their business in Australia: “There are too many limitations on production, fabric and price.” After celebrations have ceased there seems to be a lot more work ahead.