Home Australia JANA HOCKING: The five things that surprised me at Australian Fashion Week

JANA HOCKING: The five things that surprised me at Australian Fashion Week

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Jana Hocking at this year's Australian Fashion Week

In the early 2000s, I somehow managed to land a dream internship at Cosmopolitan magazine.

It was brilliant.

I worked hard and the lovely fashion editor gave me a ticket to the Alex Perry show at Australian Fashion Week. I felt like I had won the lottery.

They even allowed me to go into the fashion closet (think Devil Wears Prada) and pick out an outfit that cost much more than my lousy college student salary.

As I took a seat in the front row, I scanned the room and was delighted to find Miranda Kerr sitting in front of me and Danni Minogue to the left. Yes, the room was full of TV stars, famous WAGs and people I recognized from all my favorite magazines.

It remains one of the highlights of my life.

Jana Hocking at this year’s Australian Fashion Week

So when I was sent invitations to the many shows on offer at this year’s Australian Fashion Week, I was thrilled!

Ooh I wonder who the famous international guest will be? Who will be sitting in the front row? And what will be the trend of the season?

Well, I was in for a shock, dear reader. Because times have changed since my last show at Australian Fashion Week in 2004 and I wasn’t prepared.

Here are the five things you didn’t expect…


Don’t get me wrong, if you spend all your hours on TikTok or Instagram, there’s a good chance you’ll vaguely recognize one or two people in the front row, but my friends and I were trying to figure out who the hell everyone is. was.

Luckily, Carla Zampatti and PE Nation’s show really brought out the good. With Pip Edwards, Julie Bishop, Jackie O, Ricki-Lee Coulter, Samantha Armytage, Sonia Kruger and even Gladys Berejiklian gracing the front row.

But the other shows seemed to be a mix of reality contestants from at least two seasons ago and people you may have briefly met on one of your social apps. Poor Jess Rowe was even relegated to the second row. And just like baby, no one should corner our favorite TV star.

Pip Edwards and his PE Nation show was one of the few standouts at Australian Fashion Week, says Jana Hocking

Pip Edwards and his PE Nation show was one of the few standouts at Australian Fashion Week, says Jana Hocking

Jessica Rowe was placed in the second row behind anonymous influencers

Jessica Rowe was placed in the second row behind anonymous influencers


Between shows, everyone would gather at one of the many wine bars set up at Carriageworks, and the only thing they would talk about was who was on the weight loss diet, I mean diabetes, injections.

‘Did you see…she’s clearly into it?’

“Yeah, but who isn’t into it these days?” ‘

Poor thing… he needs to leave the Ozempic and buy a hamburger.’

One star revealed to me that all her friends take it, but she was having trouble getting a prescription.

The people who were there stuck out like a sore thumb. For example, at Pandora’s AFW party, which I must say was spectacular, there were plates of decadent food left untouched. A crime! My friend and I gladly ate the sushi, oysters and macaroni dishes.

Fortunately, every show I attended had models of all sizes walking the runway. Then we’ll take it as a victory.


I admit, I’m a sucker for a good gift bag. So when I attended the PE Nation Show, I may have squealed with delight when I discovered that we had all been given a Stanley Cup. Those suckers are $80 and I’ve never been able to justify spending that much on a bottle of water.

So getting one for free was a real treat. But what I saw happen in front of me was like a feeding frenzy. If you put the glass down even for a brief second, someone sitting a row further back would grab it. In fact, I saw one influencer walk away with five!

Others showed no shame in hanging back at the end of a show to see who had left their gift bags, before stuffing packets of tea, candles and samples of fancy perfumes into their own gift bags. I understand the cost of living is real right now, but let’s keep it a little classy.


I love a good fucking session, yes it’s embarrassing but true. However, the conversations at AFW were next level. I’ve heard countless celebrities launch monologues asking, “But what do influencers really do?”

I quickly realized that the disdain behind these rants came from the fact that influencers have risen to prominence and basically taken over the business market. They’re hogging up all the endorsement deals and big bucks that were once reserved for stars of stage and screen, and “traditional” celebrities aren’t happy.

Jana Hocking at Australian Fashion Week

Jana Hocking at Australian Fashion Week

Fights for seats

There is a real hierarchy when it comes to seating and I was amazed at how it brought out the worst in people.

I was in the second row at most shows and was perfectly happy with that (aside from trying to see past the iPhones in the air). Let’s not forget that these shows cost over $100,000 each to run, so getting a ticket should be something to be grateful for.

But I saw people blatantly force their butts to sit on benches that were clearly not for them, rather than face the embarrassment of sitting in a row behind. At some shows, the front row looked like a cramped sardine can.

Lindy Klim and Jana Hocking at the Pandora party

Lindy Klim and Jana Hocking at the Pandora party

Others waited to see which guests had not made it to their front row seats and quickly darted from their seats further back to the front row just as the event began. He looked thirsty and not cute.

But my favorite was watching people wait for everyone to leave the show before moving to the front row to take photos as if they had been sitting there the entire time. I’m looking at you, MAFS contestants.

So in terms of people watching, I give this year’s Australian Fashion Week a solid 10/10. But all the real entertainment was off the runway: the fights, the thefts, the complaining… it was better than anything I’ve seen on Netflix in years.

But in terms of class, well, I think it’s safe to say he abandoned Australian Fashion Week as soon as the influencers and reality contestants became front-row bandits.

Let’s get on with the show.

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