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These charts show exactly how ASOS, H&M, Zara and Uniqlo are affecting Australian fashion chains

Has there ever been so collective a squeal as that which was elicited by the announcement of Zara's arrival in Australia? Finally, Aussie shoppers sighed, no more overstuffed baggage on flights home from Europe, no more being behind the ball on fast fashion. And even by the time Zara was already in Sydney, Adelaideans hyped up Zara's impending opening at Burnside Village as if it were the only fast fashion store in the city.

Fast-forward to this month, which saw H&M land in Melbourne to perhaps even more hype, while Uniqlo has been quietly unrolling its Australian expansion for more than a year. Between the three new arrivals and Topshop, which was the first to dip its toes in the Australian market back in 2009, there are few global fashion giants left that haven't taken a bite of the nation's style-conscious culture.

An image from the ASOS summer 2013 campaign, the online retailer's first exclusive collection for the Australian market.

An image from the ASOS summer 2013 campaign, the online retailer's first exclusive collection for the Australian market.

Since introducing free shipping in 2011 and opening an office in Sydney in 2012, ASOS no longer elicits "a-what?" in even the stylishly disconnected households. Even Urban Outfitters, General Pants Co's American doppelgänger, now promotes its shipping to Australia. J. Crew and Forever 21 are perhaps the only major players that don't actively market to Australia - although it could be argued that for the latter retailer, Australia isn't quite the right fit for them. (Forever 21 occupies a space that's already claimed by the Cotton On group, with its extremely low-priced brands Cotton On, Factorie, and the recently acquired Supre.) 

Of course, something's got to give.

As a whole, the Australian women's fashion industry is estimated to have shrunk about $5 billion over the past five years. That's a shrinkage of 2.5% over a period of time when the economy actually grew nearly 15%. Smiggle and Peter Alexander are the only consistently profitable pillars left holding up Just Group, which owns Just Jeans, Dotti, Portmans, Jay Jays and Jacqui-E. Last financial year, ARJ Group, which owns Sportsgirl, Sussan and Suzanne Grae, saw revenue fall more than 10% on the previous year. (I couldn't locate information on Forever New's revenues or profits, but if you have any information on the company, I invite you to share in the comments.)

Meanwhile, Zara is seeing profit margins down under well above its global average, at 67%, and is about to open its ninth store in the nation.

Now, I'm no financial analyst, and I certainly don't have access to any more financial information on the Australian fashion industry than anybody else. But these charts speak more than my personal speculation ever could on the impact that the globalisation of fashion is having in Australia. The lines represent exactly what Australian consumers are Googling and when. See those spikes for Uniqlo and H&M? That's around the same times their storefronts arrived in Melbourne. The same goes for Zara and its opening in 2011. (If you're on mobile, you may find it easier to view by clicking here and here.)

With the exception of Country Road, every Australian chain on these charts has seen a gradual decline in consumer interest since 2011. Meanwhile, every international retailer bar Topshop has sky-rocketed.

Will these trends continue this way? One can only surmise that without strategised diversification - a la Cotton On Group and its foray into homewares - there's a miserable future for Australian fast fashion chains. 

75 seconds with Emma Steen and Gwen + Beck

Emma Steen and Che Kerr-Pilling epitomise the idealistic joie de vivre that teenage girls envision when they think of success in fashion. The make-up artists turned jewellery designers, buyers and entrepreneurs are fresh-faced enough to be excited by their new Wayville studio, and smart enough to know that passion alone isn't enough to fuel their company. 

Steen + Kerr, the wholesaler they founded as an umbrella for their two labels, is based in Adelaide, but the pair's vision will see it operate nationwide as the year progresses. Steen's hand-made, eponymous range found success in boutiques and mid-range markets before the pair decided they also needed something to offer a younger style set. So they dived into Gwen + Beck, Emma Steen's more energetic cousin on a friendlier budget. 

Want to know exactly how a duo with a dream hopped on the path to success in fashion? Get to know Steen and Kerr in this 75-second clip.

Music by YACHT.
Directed and produced by Chanelle Leslie.
Assisted by Katelin Delhanty. 

Chanelle x

Adelaide fashion designer Tanouk moves to Perth
Nikeisha Coulter is the head designer at new fashion label Tanouk, which recently relocated from Adelaide to Perth.

Nikeisha Coulter is the head designer at new fashion label Tanouk, which recently relocated from Adelaide to Perth.

What comes first, the label or the hype? In the case of Adelaide fashion designer Tanouk, orders were being made before there was even a label to speak of.

It all started when Perth blogger Elle Giles asked her bestie Nikeisha Coulter to make a few pieces for her to wear to Australian Fashion Week in March this year. 

Coulter, who had been designing for fun since she was 16, packed a few outfits for Elle, sent her off, and neither girl thought anything of it. That was until a host of buyers approached Elle to ask how they could stock the clothing on her back, including Nasty Gal.

"There was an overwhelming response from retail buyers," says Coulter, whose label initially relied entirely from the street style of a single fashion blogger. "So basically I applied for my business name and went from there. "

The past six months have been a sharp turn of events for the professional diversional therapist, who never intended to foray into fashion. 

"I know it's a very competitive industry. I never had any intention to go into fashion designing for that exact reason."

In fact, Coulter's designing habit was entirely for herself.  

"I was never satisfied with what I could find in the shops for myself so up until now it's always just been designing and sketching and having garments made for myself just so I could have something different."

While Coulter claims she isn't expecting too much from the label, her fast moves divulge that she's more than ready to make hay while the sun shines. Since my interview with her last month, she's already relocated to Perth amid preparations to outsource production to Bali. 

But how does a young diversional therapist with no formal training take such a huge leap? With a bucketload of audacity, but more importantly with the wisdom to leave the dressmaking work to the professionals. 

"Initially i'm trying to keep everything exclusive and small so i can balance everything. I'm going to try to find a studio in (Perth) and work from there and I'm just going to keep it part-time as a diversional therapist and focus as much as I can on my label.

"I think my lack of training definitely does give me an advantage in the sense that I didn't learn to the book, so that I can try to do what everyone says I can't do."

Tanouk's first collection was launched last week at Loft Oyster & Wine Bar as part of The September Collection. I'm looking forward to checking in with Coulter as time passes to talk about the big Perth move and the experience of outsourcing to Bali, but in the mean time, you can see her Australian-made collection online

You might also like: Adelaide designer Cristina Tridente reveals why she nearly quit fashion

Pride models  Holly Watson  and  Megan Ford  wear Tanouk at  The September Collection .

Pride models Holly Watson and Megan Ford wear Tanouk at The September Collection.

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Anthony Adams' makeup tips - Celebrity makeup artist tutorial
Anthony Adams makeup artist

Ask anybody interstate about Adelaide-based makeup artists, and inevitably the words Dale Dorning will come to mind. For years, the man behind the face of Miranda Kerr and Delta Goodrem has been the only star child of the local makeup scene.

So it's with open arms that we welcome Sydney import Anthony Adams to the local fashion photography community. He's worked with Harper's Bazaar, Chanel, and dozens of high profile Sydneysiders, but for the past six months he's been settling into his new studio in North Adelaide. I got to visit the new studio and get his best makeup tips.

Contouring: With your cheeks, always imagine a line from the top of your ear to the corner of your mouth and contour along that line. Your blush should go on the apple of your cheek, then work it backwards towards your ear. Then you put your highlighter on top of that and blend that all in. 

Eye shadow:  For smaller eyes there's certain things you should do. that's avoiding any dark colours on your eyes; always go for lighter colours. if you have bigger eyes and you want to make them look smaller you can focus a lot of your colour just on the lid and blacken the lid and that will make your eyes look smaller.

Brows: Start with a brush or a mascara wand, always brushing in an upwards direction. With the kits you get three colours. You can use one colour all the time but the true idea of using these is that you actually use all the colours. The lightest colour is first and you go through the main part of the brow with it. Then go to the middle colour, and that is (on) your arch. Then we go to the blackest, and that's the tail of the brow. Then go back and brush it up again and that softens the lines you've created. 

Foundation: Whatever I'm going to put on the face always goes onto my hands first. Because you're putting it straight onto the face, you're going to put too much on every time because you're not able to control it. If it's on your hand you can control it and take what you need.
 

Urban Outfitters EU Collection