Home » JANA HOCKING: The five things that shocked me at Australian Fashion Week

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

Back in the early 2000s I somehow managed to land a dream internship at Cosmopolitan Magazine.

It was brilliant.

I worked hard and was gifted a ticket to Alex Perry‘s show at Australian Fashion Week by the very lovely fashion editor. I felt like I had won the lottery.

I was even allowed to go into the fashion closet (think Devil Wears Prada) and choose an outfit that cost far more than my lousy university student wage.

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

It’s still one of my life highlights.

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 got excited!

Ooh I wonder who will be the famous international guest? Who will be sitting 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 Australian Fashion Week Show in 2004, and I was not prepared.

Here are the five things I was not expecting…


Don’t get me wrong, if you spend all your hours on TikTok or Instagram, there’s a fair chance you might vaguely recognise one or two people gracing the front row, but my friends and I were all trying to figure out who the heck everyone was.

Thankfully the Carla Zampatti and P.E. Nation show really brought out the goods. With Pip Edwards, Julie Bishop, Jackie O, Ricki-Lee Coulter, Samantha Armytage, Sonia Kruger and even Gladys Berejiklian all gracing the front row.

But the other shows appeared to be a mix of reality contestants from at least two seasons ago, and people you may have briefly spotted on one of your social apps. Poor Jess Rowe even got relegated to the second row. And just like baby, nobody should put our favourite TV star in the corner.

Pip Edwards and her P.E Nation show was one of the few standouts at Australian Fashion Week, says Jana Hocking

Pip Edwards and her P.E Nation show was one of the few standouts at Australian Fashion Week, says Jana Hocking  

Jessica Rowe was placed in the second row behind no-name influencers

Jessica Rowe was placed in the second row behind no-name influencers 


Between shows everyone would gather at one of the many wine bars set up at Carriageworks, and all anyone was whispering about was who was on the weight loss, I mean diabetes, injections. 

‘Did you see … she’s clearly on it.’ 

‘Yes, but who isn’t on it these days.’ ‘

Poor … needs to put down the Ozempic and pick up a burger’.

One A-lister revealed to me that all her friends are on it, but she was having trouble getting a prescription.

The people who were on it stuck out like a sore thumb. For example, at Pandora’s AFW Party – which I have to say was spectacular – there were plates of decadent food going untouched. A crime! My friend and I took to the plates of sushi and oysters, and macaroons with gusto.

Thankfully, every show I went to had models of all sizes walking the runway. So, we’ll take that as a win.


I’ll admit, I am a sucker for a good gift bag. So when I turned up to the P.E. Nation Show, I may have squealed with delight when I discovered we had all be gifted a Stanley Tumbler. Those suckers go for $80 and I’ve never been able to justify spending that much on a water bottle. 

So, to get one for free was a real treat. But what I saw play out in front of me was like a feeding frenzy. Should you put your tumbler down for even a brief second, it was snatched up by someone sitting in a row further back. In fact, I saw one influencer leave with five! 

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


I love a good bitch session, yes it’s shameful but true. However, the conversations at AFW were next level. I listened to countless celebrities launch into monologues asking, ‘but what do influencers actually do?’

I quickly realised the scorn behind these rants came from the fact that influencers have risen to prominence and have basically taken over the commercial market. They’re snapping up all the endorsement deals and big cash that was once reserved for stars of the stage and screen – and the ‘traditional’ celebs aren’t happy.

Jana Hocking at Australian Fashion Week

Jana Hocking at Australian Fashion Week 


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

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

But I saw people shamelessly force their bottoms onto bench seats that clearly weren’t for them, rather than face the shame of sitting one row back. At some shows, the front row looked like a tightly packed tin of sardines.

Lindy Klim and Jana Hocking at the Pandora party

Lindy Klim and Jana Hocking at the Pandora party 

Others waited to see what guests hadn’t arrived for their front row seats and quickly darted from their seats further back to the front row just as the event was starting. It looked thirsty and not cute.

But my favourite was watching people wait for everyone to leave the show before they moved to the front row to take photos as if they had been sitting there the whole 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 squabbling, the stealing, the bitching… it was better then anything I’ve binged on Netflix in years. 

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

On with the show.