Who’s Who at FASHFEST 2015!

FASHFEST Designer Line-up 2015

By Wendy Johnson (for LFW)

What goes on inside a fashion designer’s mind? Where do they get their inspiration? How do they decide on fabric, colour, or detail? It’s such an interesting study and so much more than the ability to sew. The designers selected for FASHFEST 2015 (13 to 16 May) form part of that study. The fresh faces couldn’t be more diverse if they tried. Most hail from the capital and others from interstate—including Melbourne, Tasmania and Cooma—and, for the first time, overseas (New Zealand).

Stunning colours and printed fabrics are huge this year, especially with designers inspired by cultural diversity such as MirandaSAKHINO, a contemporary label that represents an equal fusion of African and Western fashion. Designer Miranda Seakgosing’s designs include versatile day and evening wear that appeal to modern, polished cosmopolitan women who love functional, and timeless fashion.

Popping colour by Miranda Sakhino

Popping colour by Miranda Sakhino

 Check out more designers here

Phoebe Mwanza, of The Prodigal Daughter, sources her fabrics from different parts of Africa. She designs here and manufactures in Kenya and Ghana, with employees overseas to quality-assure the work. Printed textiles are also huge with the collection to be launched by The Professor’s Daughter from Melbourne. The end result is corporate, colourful and creative pieces—so say bye-bye to grey suits and boring black dresses. Fashion designer Mariska Thynne has seven key retailers nationally.

The Prodigal Daughter

African inspiration from The Prodigal Daughter

Also big on colour and cultural fusion is Hana Apparel Design. In her debut appearance at FASHFEST, Neda Alemohammad explores the richness and beauty of Persian culture—the creativity and splendour of Iran. She creates stunning Western designs with Persian motifs and some of her garments are made from hand-painted, natural fabrics.


Persian style in natural fabrics from HANA Apparel Designs

Melanie Child is a designer to watch. She produces high-end, upcycled clothing in Dunedin, New Zealand and fights hard against a world saturated with mass production. Melanie’s aesthetic is thought-provoking and sculptural, with a dark edge. Her colour palette is mostly black, white and grey and the designer only used pre-loved or second-hand garments to construct her pieces.

Melanie Child

Upcycle with Melanie Child

Comfortable, easy-to-wear garments are a feature of several labels, including Bird Keepers, That Bird Label, and Boho Bird, bohemian-inspired, relaxed, romantic, beautiful clothing.

Beautiful classic design from BirdKeepers

Beautiful classic design from BirdKeepers

Jewellery will make an appearance on the catwalk with the work of Tanja von Behrens, a contemporary designer and maker who works from her studio at Salamanca Arts Centre, Tasmania. Tanja grew up in a creative household in Canberra, where the arts were treasured and celebrated. She started making jewellery as a hobby while studying at the University of Sydney and now creates full-time. Her pieces are sensational.

This year, FASHFEST has formalised an educational partnership with the Canberra Institute of Technology, to give students real industry experience in a range of creative industries. Under the partnership, graduates in fashion design will showcase graduating collections—one segment each night under the events four themes: activist; inventor; cartographer, and engineer. Again, diversity of aesthetic is almost unimaginable.

Persian Party with HANA Apparel Designs

Persian Party with HANA Apparel Designs

Rachel Eager of Little Jane Lane, has always had a soft spot for fashion and, under her independent label, focuses on tea party fashion for young women searching to escape reality. Vanessa Mifsud of Illusory Cog, takes her primary inspiration from Salvador Dali and Sigmund Freud, creating fashion that truly turns heads. Designer Charne Esterhuizen from MAAK, who is also a model for HAUS Models, creates unisex, street and sports-inspired clothing—a perfect fit for those who want to freely express themselves. Other graduates who will launch collections on the runway are The Label by Emma O’Rourke, Mimetic by Melissa Pompeani and George McWilliam, and Ziyah, by Erin Spain.

Some all-time favourites will also be back, including several who have been with the red-carpet event since its inaugural year, including Corr Blimey, Rockstars and Royalty, Perpetually Five (collaborating this year with Clare Read), Sovata and Karen Lee (now selling out of Assemblage Project). Repeats from the 2014 red-carpet show include BM Designs, Recollection, Zilpah Tart and Braddon Tailors.

Autumn style at Mimetic

Autumn style at Mimetic

FASHFEST 2015 will be held at a brand new, exciting (and heated!) location—the National Convention Centre; so get your glad rags out—it’s ‘dress-up’ time!


All images provided by designers—from previous collections.

Wendy Johnson is Director at Clarity Communications www.claritycomms.com.au

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