HoMie and the Plaza Block Party: Melbourne’s Game-Changing Fashion Experience
By Joanna Elena Batsakis
This piece was written as part of the Fashion Writing Program 2019
In the middle of the Plaza Block Party at The Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival, there was a buzz in the air.
At 3pm the Melbourne born and made and not-for-profit streetwear label HoMie was about to make its Festival runway debut. Unlike the runways held inside the Royal Exhibition Building, the HoMie runway was to take place outside - a highly intriguing architectural concept which would allow the front row guests and passers-by to see entire collection in full direct sunlight. As the front row guests began to arrive, one saw a vast array of textures, colours and styles merge together in the audience. Street-style was made up of polka-dot printed combat boots, white cat-eye sunglasses and silk pyjamas styled for the day-time, with guests mingling, whispering with friends and eagerly waiting for the show to begin.
In 2019, the issues of sustainability and representation in the fashion industry have been at the forefront of the international runway presentations, but at the HoMie runway, the focus was something more specific and localised. Beginning as a pop-up concept in 2014 in Melbourne’s CBD to a brick-and-mortar store in Fitzroy, HoMie is a Melbourne label that actively supports young people affected by homelessness or hardship to have the skills, confidence and experience to be more work ready and better prepared for their future, with 100% of its proceeds going towards its social impact programs. These social impact programs (such as the its HoMie Pathway Alliance) are designed to build confidence and job skills for young people so that they can create their unique pathways out of homelessness. Because of this, HoMie has now cemented itself as a game-changing business in the retail and not-for-profit sector within the Australian fashion industry.
The Autumn/Winter collection that was presented was not only eye-catching, bright and colourful, it was also intellectually challenging and stimulating.
The absolute standout items from this collection were items that appear at first, familiar but revealed a twist. For example, early in the show a model walked down the runway wearing a short-sleeved shirt styled like a football jersey, but on closer inspection, one saw the word ‘FITZROY’ spelled out on the front and on the back, an oversized number that represented a fact which stated “38 percent of Homelessness are Youths Under 25”.
Another equally intriguing item was a vintage-styled bowling shirt that sported a new emblem which read “HoMie Bowling Club”. These items of clothing demanded to be seen but also to be understood – concrete facts printed onto contemporary streetwear united the uniqueness of Melbourne’s local fashion scene with an urgent need to recognise the severity of local issue of youth homelessness.
In 2018, HoMie partnered with Cotton On Group to create work placement opportunities. This collaboration signals that there is a promising future for the growth of HoMie’s unique program alongside the major players of the industry. If the runway presentation was anything to go buy, there is an excited audience eagerly waiting for more of HoMie’s ideas and collaborations to evolve into larger projects and events in Melbourne. I too, eagerly await to see and hear more from HoMie.