Four years since the supermodel launched her career on the Melbourne Fashion Week runway, Adut Akech is back with the prestigious title of official international ambassador for the week-long fashion event.
Ranked as the world’s No.1 model by models.com, the 19-year-old was back in Melbourne on Monday to unveil the line-up for Melbourne’s Fashion Week, one of the largest and most popular consumer fashion events in the country. With over 100,000 people attending each year, MFW is the hallmark event of the season, presenting spring/summer collections and showcasing Melbourne as a hub of fashion and design.
Each year, MFW provides a launching pad for emerging models, designers and brands, and was a pivotal point in Akech’s career, a high-demand couture model now based in New York.
“I’m incredibly proud to return to Melbourne where it all started,” Akech said.
“I love coming home to Australia to visit my friends and family and I’m excited to further promote diversity in the fashion industry.”
This announcement comes just a week after she was revealed as the face of the iconic fashion house Valentino’s new perfume Born in Roma, taking her already expanding career to new heights. Her meteoric rise to fame has included runways for Alexander McQueen, Chanel, Dior, Givenchy and Prada, and it looks like it’s not set to slow any time soon.
Her road to success hasn’t been easy, however. Akech first came to Adelaide, South Australia as a child refugee from South Sudan and spent her early years in a refugee camp in Kenya. She lived there with her family until she was about eight years old. Recently, she has opened up about her experience of being bullied for aspects of her appearance, including her skin colour and the gap between her teeth; both features that are now sought-after in her career as a supermodel.
Speaking to Refinery29, Akech said,
“Honestly, I’m so glad that I didn’t let what anyone said get to me, because everything that I got bullied for, I love so much today.”
Expanding on her experiences of racism and living as a refugee in Australia, Akech said,
“I want to help people understand what it is to be a refugee. We are just like everybody else; the only difference is that we were forced out of our own countries, out of our own homes because of fear, not by choice. You don’t wake up and say, ‘Today I’m going to be a refugee and move to a refugee camp.’ I would love to see schools educate children, so they know not to bully children just because they are refugees.”
Akech is now working with the United Nations to help with refugee issues worldwide, demonstrating that she intends to use her fame and influence to effect positive change in the world.
Following the announcement of Akech’s ambassadorship for MFW, Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp told the press,
“Adut is one of the world’s most sought-after young models and we’re incredibly lucky to have her in Melbourne,”
This year MFW is continuing in its commitment to promoting sustainability within the fashion industry with six slow-fashion designers featured in the runwau at Town Hall, as well as a panel on sustainability at The Fashion Forum.
Melbourne Fashion Week runs from Wednesday 28th August to Thursday 5th September.