Today I made a mad dash from the office to the Canberra Centre for the launch of Fashfest 2016. Hosted by the gorgeous Sarah Kelly in the Canberra Centre’s beautiful new Eden space, the event gave founders Clint and Andrea Hutchinson the opportunity to share thougts on where Fashfest came from, how it has grown, and exciting news about what we can expect from the future.
With regard to the origins of the event, Clint recounted a story of travelling to Milan and he and Andrea asking the question of one another “Why hasn’t Canberra had its own event fashion event?” This lead to other questions about how you would run a fashion event in Canberra, and soon after much discussion and some scribbling on napkins, they had designed the very first Fahsfest event.
When they returned to Canberra the first person that the spoke to Steven Wright, who has been (and remains) a huge part of the Fashfest experience. Clint first pitched the idea of a five-night fashion experience, to which Steven’s response was “You’re crazy, you might be able to make one-night happen.” Clint’s rebuttal was to compromise on a four-night event, and the rest is history.
And so four years later, what’s new for Fashfest 2016?
Andrea explained that aside from changes to the program for this year, there have been a lot of exciting new development, with more new talents across all the fields Fashfest supports (fashion, modelling, music and film), as well as an exciting new partnership with the Canberra Centre. This year eight from the Canberra Centre will showcase designs on the runway alongside emerging designers. This is an incredibly important factor for the growth of the event and for the development of Canberra’s fashion scene.
It will also help audiences to contextualise the runway shows, and to offer you a whole new dimension of seeing these collections on the runway as opposed to on a rack on in campaign shots.
Perhaps most exciting was the announcement of a new Mentorship Program, a collaboration between Fashfest and Bradley Allen Love Lawyers (B.A.L. Lawyers).
Susan Proctor, Legal Director from B.A.L Lawyers, was on-hand to announce the new partnership. Susan stated that she was excited today to launch the collaboration, which will stitch together creativity and knowledge for the perfect fit. Six intakes from six creative fields, connected to the world of fashion, will be given a chance to build their business acumen, by matching with the skills and expertise of B.A.L as an experienced law firm. It is an exciting development for Fashfest as a platform to mentor and develop emerging talent, and a fantastic example of the different ways that this event is bringing local businesses and creatives together in exciting new ways.
In speaking of the future of Fashfest Clint mentioned that in future years Fashfest would have a dedicated team working on it, and a stronger business plan. The aim is to take the event outside of Canberra, and for it to run multiple times a year. “We’re not just Canberra: we’re as good as the rest of the world. Bring on the rest of the world!” Clint went on to specify that when he said ‘we’ he wasn’t just talking about Andrea and himself. Fashfest is hundreds of people, it is half of Canberra, and the audience that has embraced and supported it from the very first year.
You can see collections from the Canberra Centre retailers during ‘Praxis’ and ‘Limina’, Friday 30 September, 6.30 pm.
Fashfest 2016 will run from 29 September to 1 October at the award winning National Convention Centre. Tickets are on sale now.