Monthly Archives: August 2016

FASHFEST Designers in Profile—SOVATA

For four years in a row Sovata has showcased a new collection at FASHFEST. By Aine Dowling.

Sovata collection 2015 - photo by LFW

Sovata collection 2015 – photo by LFW

Those who remember FASHFEST—way back when we were all freezing in an airport building—will also remember the classy race wear and amazing coordinated millinery of Sovata’s first show in 2013. Now we’re comfortably ensconced in the National Convention Centre, and Sovata has ventured slightly away from race wear for her latest collection. LFW caught up with Sovata designer, Jade Sargent, in her home studio, surrounded by sketches, patterns, and colour.

Sovata - previous collection

Sovata – previous collection

50/17 Spring/Summer Collection by Sovata is inspired by the 1950s cut and style; from svelte silhouettes, through nipped waists with full skirts, to androgynous tailored pants (think Lauren Bacall and Katherine Hepburn), all with a bold and modern twist.

“I’ve always loved the 50s look,” says Jade, “and so I bought some really old 50s patterns to research the difference between fashion then and the look of today. When you look at images from that period the women look quite different from now, and I had to ask myself; was their figure really so different, and did they all have 20 inch waists, or was it the way the clothes were cut.

“I started making patterns using darting from the 50s—which is quite different from the way darts are used today, and it offers a very flattering silhouette—in order to both incorporate the look into a modern style, and to include my minimal waste and sustainability of designs, which I’m still quite passionate about.”

Although moving slightly away from her zero waste past, Jade has moved into more natural and organic fabrics, including silks and cottons and blends of the two, while still using strong, bold colours together with blacks and pastels to emphasise the cut and shape of the garment. And although not specifically race wear, 50/17 can take you to the races, to work, or out and about. And the hats are yet to come!

Sovata - previous collection

Sovata – 2015 collection


50/17 will also include Sovata’s stunning trademark hats; each one complementing the garment, and following through with style and colour.

All garments by Sovata are custom made to suit the individual client’s taste and style. You can see more Sovata designs on their website, Facebook page, and Etsy.


Image Credits: Designer Sovata – Jade Sargent, Photographer Bad Cat Photography – Bec Fasson, Makeup Artistry – Kaarin Helmers, Models Lara Schroder, Georgia Mackay, Location East Hotel Canberra.



Sovata will be showcasing 50/17 at FASHFEST on Thursday 29 September in Show One at 6.30pm. Tickets on sale now!

Buy tickets now


By the LFW Team.

Do you know who made your clothes?  If you don’t—perhaps you should. Here at LFW we’re all in favour of fair trade and buying local, and if it’s organic and sustainable as well; even better!

Karen Lee

Karen Lee


Assemblage Project in Braddon has been operating for a few years now, but in the past 12 months it’s not only changed premises, but also expanded to include a number of local designers most of whom are no waste, use organic materials, and work in Canberra and the surrounding region.

Karen Lee is well known for her no darts, easy-wear draping styles, and together with Edition, SZN, and Pure Pod, Assemblage is now in the forefront of sustainable designers in Canberra, and will be exhibiting their individual styles for the first time as a group, at FASHFEST on Saturday 1 October in Show One at 6.30pm.


All Assemblage designers Karen Lee, Edition, SZN and Pure Pod will each have their own shows to launch new collections on the same night, together with other Assemblage labels  High Tea with Mrs Woo, Eva Cassis, Kowtow and Wendy Voon. So you get to see all eight labels in the one show!

Assemblage 4

One of the exciting things about a visit to Assemblage is that you’ll probably find a designer there cutting, drafting, or sewing on their huge industrial steel worktable—which also serves as the reception counter. The industrial look carries through the shop with old piping as clothes racks, low industry pendant lighting, and a simple concrete floor. Huge windows at the rear provide extra lighting to the cutting and sewing area.




Styles and fabrics are mixed and include Edition’s soft draping jersey that takes you from work to dinner, and focusses on Selvedge-to-Selvedge designs meaning zero waste. Alice Sutton’s previous collections have been Canberra themed including a nod to the Bogong Moth, and Canberra Brickworks.

SZN clothing is designed and made in Australia and focusses on simplicity. Designer Suzan Dlouhy has side-stepped slightly from her recycled street-wear past and is now using organic materials to produce smock style dresses, batwing tops, and comfy loose fitting dungarees.

Garment colours include a predominance of black, grey, and white with the occasional bold splash of deep blue, vivid red, and earthy burnt orange




Pure Pod was launched in 2006 and is considered one of Australia’s most consistent ethical fashion brands and a pioneer in Eco and Sustainability fashion. Designer Kelli Donovan takes pride in keeping the brand 100 per cent Australian made, using local craftspeople. Pure Pod is for women who really care about what they wear, who makes it, and where it comes from.

Pure Pod - photo by Tracy Lee Photography

Pure Pod – photo by Tracy Lee Photography

Assemblage also includes gorgeous soft knits by Wendy Voon, natural fabrics and textiles from High Tea with Mrs Woo, and ultra-comfy Rollie shoes.

Assemblage Project, Shop 66, 30 Lonsdale Street, Braddon—check the website for open times.

You can see Assemblage Project at FASHFEST Saturday 1 October, 6.30pm at the National Convention Centre. Tickets on sale now!


STEPPIN’ OUT! Oxfam Trailwalker Hike

We’re following team member Emma on the 100km Oxfam Trailwalker Hike today and tomorrow (19 and 20 August 2016) from Hawkesbury to Manly (Sydney). Emma and the rest of the team (Anne, Karena, and Nadine) from JCSMR (ANU), Curtin Trailblazers, have been in training since May and have hiked through Tidbinbilla, Mount Kosciuszko, and Namadgi National Park to get used to day-long hikes and rough terrain.

We’ll be following their progress through the Oxfam website and posting pics through our Facebook page.

Here are few pics to get you started! Go Ladies!

FINAL UPDATE! 100k done!! Big thank you to my team the Curtin Trailblazers: Karena, Nadine and Anne, and our wonderful amazing support crew Megs and Chris. Also big thank you to team #272 The Walking Divas, my first ‘adopted’ team, and team #502 HMAS Melbourne, my second ‘adopted’ team who helped keep me sane right up to the finish. Hardest thing I’ve ever done in my entire life, but definitely worth the effort. Had a blast with friends and made many new ones along the way. Experience of a lifetime!

Certificate - hardly awake enough to appreciate it though!

Certificate – hardly awake enough to appreciate it though!

Congratulations Emma and team Curtin Trailblazers and crew! Well done! Crossed the finish line at 1.02am Sunday 21 August.

Exhausted but over the line!

Exhausted but over the line!


Emma with HMAS Melbourne (below)

Emma with team HMAS Melbourne

Emma with team HMAS Melbourne


UPDATE! Rest of the team has retired so now going alone for team Curtin Trailblazers. Now at Frenchs Forest (Sydney) 11.30am Saturday 20 August. Only 30km to go!

Checkpoint 5

Checkpoint 5


Earlier pics

Curtin Trailblazers

Curtin Trailblazers

Steppin' Out!

Steppin’ Out!

Rough terrain in Section 1

Rough terrain in Section 1

Still Walking!

Still Walking!

Beautiful scenery

Beautiful scenery

Night walk - left checkpoint 3 at 2.32am

Night walk – left checkpoint 3 at 2.32am

Off again. Rest of team retired so going it alone now for Curtin Trailblazers

Off again. Rest of team retired so going it alone now for Curtin Trailblazers


In just under two months the champagne will be flowing as FASHFEST 2016 celebrates opening night. Tickets were released for sale TODAY! Be quick if you want the best seats in the house.

Front Row VIP Seats - FashFest 2015

Front Row VIP Seats – FashFest 2015

More than 40 designers will showcase new collections this year; with fashion worn by a record-number of models (140 in total). For the first time, FASHFEST will roll out two shows a night, one starting at 6.30pm and one at 8.30pm.

The ticket structure includes front-row VIP seats for $135 ($185 including an exclusive guided backstage tour, which is heaps of fun). Second-row Platinum seats are $100 ($150 with the backstage tour) and Gold—first two rows of the tiered seating—are selling for $69 (all prices incl GST). Also, for the first time, FASHFEST has released $49 tickets. “We wanted to accommodate students on tight budgets and open the event up to the younger crowd,” says Andrea Hutchinson, a co-founder of FASHFEST. “Group bookings are available for some seats—buy 5 tickets, get 1 free. And if you can’t get enough of FASHFEST, buy the two shows package (gold and silver only), which gets you a 10% discount.”

Bubbles and fun at FashFest 2015 - photo by Andrew Campbell

Bubbles and fun at FashFest 2015 – photo by Andrew Campbell

Check out for what is included for each price point. No matter what you spend on your ticket—FASHFEST is a great social night out. This must-see CBR event certainly celebrates designer fashion, but it also celebrates the amazing talent of many other creatives, including musicians and DJs, original filmmakers, wow-factor hair and makeup and more.

Sound and lighting - photo by Avon Dissanayake

Sound and lighting – photo by Avon Dissanayake

FASHFEST wouldn’t be FASHFEST without extraordinary sound and lighting, pulled together each year by Darren Russell of Canberra’s Elite Event Technology. You won’t believe you’re in the National Convention Centre Canberra once Darren and his time have worked their magic.

FashFest founders Andrea and Clint Hutchinson - 2015

FashFest founders Andrea and Clint Hutchinson – 2015

Another creative element to FASHFEST is its themes. Each show is curated around a theme, which ensures a well-thought through guest experience. It puts the event up there with the best Australia has to offer. Themes for 2016 are all described on the FASHFEST website. “Even if fashion isn’t your thing,” says co-founder Clint Hutchinson, “you’ll love FASHFEST for its many other creative elements. I even love it because it’s the best people watching in town.”

FASHFEST 2016—29 September to 1 October. Three nights. Six distinct shows. One total fashion experience! Buy your tickets now!  This gold-star event is supported by Events ACT, ACT Government.



Photography by CumminsPhoto unless otherwise indicated.


Buy tickets now

FASHFEST meets fletcherLovell!

fletcherLovell is a brand new range of cute and gorgeous ballet fLats in soft leathers and comfy fabrics, and will be on display at FASHFEST 2016! LFW caught up with Penny Lovell, designer and owner of the brand, and got the scoop on these fabulous fashion items.


Gloria – in gorgeous blues with bling and sparkle!

“In 2014, I experienced a significant loss in my life and during this time, I was inspired to think of all of us as individual artworks; a mixture of emotions and stories,” says Penny. “I wanted women to think of themselves as beautiful complex paintings, colouring the world with every step that they took. Shoes were the natural fit for this vision and my own love of footwear. I chose ballet flats because they are versatile and easy to change to suit your mood. I set up the business in 2015 and launched the website in 2016.”


Isla – in bright red nappa leather

The shoes are designed in Australia and made in Spain from beautiful soft Spanish leather uppers and inners, or fabric with leather inners, and all have rubber soles for comfort and grip. The leather shoes include the Artist’s Palette range of bright colours designed to cheer up your day; the Wearable Art range which is created from Penny’s own paintings or photographs, and the Gallery range which is themed, and currently inspired by Black Square on White Ground by artist Kazimir Malevich.

fletcherLovell sizing is European and closely matches Australian and US sizes. Sizes start at EU36 (Aus6) and goes up to EU42 (12), and includes half sizes between EU37 – 41.

The shoes are handcrafted by a local Spanish family business that makes shoes for some of the biggest European brands. “When I started this journey, I had samples made from different overseas manufacturers but they were not the quality I was looking for,” says Penny. “I’m a huge fan of Spanish made shoes and I’m thrilled with this manufacturer. The quality of their craftsmanship and beauty of the leathers is unparalleled.


Belle – in bright and sunny yellow

“Our shoe boxes are also made in Spain, and one of the wonderful experiences of fLats is opening the box and working your way through the beautifully folded tissue paper to unveil silky smooth pristine shoes. It definitely makes me happy every time I open one of our boxes, and I’m hoping that everyone who attends FASHFEST will see the beauty of the colours and craftsmanship, and fall in love with our fLats.”

fletcherLovell is designed to be at the forefront of a new wave of women’s fashion; where women can embrace their individuality and know that they’re wearing not just shoes, but a work of art!

fletcherLovell fLats are available online at ‘… colour your world; one step at a time’.


Annika – colouring your world …

Images courtesy fletcherLovell

Innovation and Technology meet at CRAFT ACT

Embracing Innovation Volume 6, by the LFW team

What happens when artists and specialists from technical and academic fields embrace innovation? Magic; that’s what!

Ten examples of wonderful collaborations are being exhibited now at Craft ACT: Craft and Design Centre. Embracing Innovation Volume 6 is truly fascinating with some projects involving up to 15 artists and experts.

Lego like edu toyOne example is a Lego-like, hands-on assembly educational toy, designed to help Australian children learn Japanese. It’s the result of a cross-disciplinary research project involving a linguist and industrial designers. The result is rectangular 3-D printed paper pieces imprinted with images, Japanese words and phonics. Using colours to guide the sentence structure, the pieces simply click-and-connect; making learning fun.

Silk Scarves

Silk Scarves

Also inspiring is the work by Canberra-based textile artist Jennifer Robertson. If you look closely at Jennifer’s scarves, you’ll see that they have thin lines of stainless steel running through them. Jennifer has hand-woven the scarves on a digital loom. While the mention of stainless steel conjures up images of a hard, heavy and rigid matter, the scarves are soft, light and warm. You can shape them in any way around your body or create your own sculpture to display at home.

Felt clutch

Felt clutch

The artists and specialists behind the works displayed are from various counties including Australia, Canada, England, and Japan. Young fashion designer Tamara Efrat is from Israel, and she’s teamed up with experts from the School of Computer Science at Hebrew University to create patterns using computer algorithms. She then uses traditional smocking embroidery and parametric tools to create thick felt clutches and handbags based on the patterns.

typography workJenny Judge, who has lived in the southern and northern hemispheres, uses photogrammetry to create sculptures reflecting geographic formations in Whistler, Canada, and Matapouri, New Zealand. She walks in nature, tracking topography and then scans it onto the computer. Next she manipulates it; 3D prints sculptural shelves, and sets on the shelves colourful cast-glass objects.

This is the sixth in an annual series hosted by Craft ACT.  Mel George from Craft ACT, who curated the show, says each display is an intriguing example of innovation in the creative arts, focusing on craft and design.

Embracing Innovation Volume 6 Exhibition

is on now until 27 August and is not to be missed.

FASHFEST Designers in Profile—KAREN LEE

By the LFW team

Each designer’s fashion collection starts with inspiration. Where the inspiration comes from is not always clear. However, it’s mostly (always) a combination of research and thinking, as it is with Karen Lee, who will launch a new collection this year at FASHFEST 2016.

Karen Lee (centre) - Assemblage Project

Karen Lee (centre) – Assemblage Project

“I’ve been exploring the work of various artists that take a minimalistic approach and use minimal palettes,” says the designer, who owns and runs Assemblage Project in Braddon. “The artists catching my attention incorporate structure with asymmetrical shapes and include uneven details. The collection is still evolving so I haven’t yet settled on a name.”

Karenn Lee 2Those who know Karen Lee’s work, recognise the designer has always created contemporary and sophisticated garments that enhance changing body shapes. This collection is no exception. Karen wants women to feel comfortable and confident in her garments, and she wants them to express their individual style when wearing them and take on the garments as their own.

Karen’s collections always look fabulous on the catwalk. She’s appeared at FASHFEST every year since the event took Canberra by storm in 2013.  Indeed, her label is a strong draw card for the three-day fashion event. In 2016, the designer promises a dominant, strong, bold collection, concentrating on shape and form. “I’m playing with some avant-garde pieces that bring in sculptural elements, and soft, flowing pieces,” says Karen. “I’m also exploring the idea of contradictions.”

Karen wants to evoke a sense of involvement in her 2016 collection. “I want the wearer to embrace the garments; love what is on the catwalk and say ‘I want that outfit’.”

thumbnail_thumbnail_Karen Lee_Leighton Hutchinson_FF2013Karen’s new collection is in tune with the signature restrained colour palette she’s known for. As is always the case with this seasoned designer, the new outfits won’t follow here-today-gone-tomorrow fads or trends. “I design garments that can be worn for years,” says Karen. “Because of their design, quality of fabric, and the way they’re made, my designs celebrate slow fashion and all the term embraces.”

Slow fashion and ethical fashion are at the heart of Assemblage Project. “While the mainstream fashion industry relies on globalised, mass production, where garments go from the design stage to the retail floor in a few, short weeks, the labels I carry do not,” she says. “They’re not just a label. They’re slow. They’re ethical and in many ways sustainable.”

Assemblage Project has carried up to 10 independent fashion labels at a time. Currently, Karen stocks seven labels, four of which will launch collections at FASHFEST 2016—Edition, SZN, Pure Pod and her own label, Karen Lee. For the first time, Assemblage Project itself will also be doing a show at FASHFEST. Stay tuned for details.

Karen Lee

FASHFEST 2016 is on 29 September to 1 October at the award-winning National Convention Centre Canberra. Three nights. Six distinct shows. One total fashion experience!

Tickets on sale soon.

FASHFEST’s Magnifik Music!

By the LFW Team.

FASHFEST has always wowed guests with live music. No piped in music for this red-carpet, fashion event. That would be too easy, and boring. The music lineup recently announced for the 2016 show (29 Sept to 1 Oct) is nothing short of magical.

Magnifik - Ashley Feraude

Magnifik – Ashley Feraude

FASHFEST’s Director of Music, Ashley Feraude, who many may know as the talent behind the magnificent Magnifik, has outdone himself this year, pulling together many musical firsts for the three-day fashion event, with tunes covering a variety of genres from roots, soul, electronica, disco, and house. In 2016, FASHFEST features 25 DJs and live musical acts in total.

Some acts are returning, like high-energy Mondecreen and internationally renowned rapper Tak-Un-Da, who will both launch extended play singles at the event. Fourteen new musical acts are making their debut and more female artists will perform than ever before.

Ashlee McKenzie

Ashlee McKenzie

Highlights include sister DJ duo, DJ Dimple and Lipgloss, who will play their very own ‘Soul Sister’s’ set. DJ Ashlee McKenzie, one of Canberra’s favorite party providers, will keep guests entertained. DJ Nico Lupo arrives from London to perform his first major Canberra show. This prolific artist has played across five continents and put on more than 150 global parties from London to Barcelona and Ibiza to India.

A three-piece band, led by Canberra-based soul, funk and RnB musician, Simon Anua, will perform, as will singer songwriter and solo acoustic performer NeonHoney. The person behind the alias, Chantelle Milin, sings from the heart and takes you on a sparkling journey.

“The musicians have been hand-picked for the way their individual talent aligns with the themes of each of the six shows,” says co-founder of FASHFEST, Clint Hutchinson. “With FASHFEST, the music is a major component and so critical for bringing the fashion to life.”



FASHFEST’s emphasis on music is no surprise, as the event has always billed itself as more than a catwalk show. FASHFEST is a total fashion experience, offering a much broader creative scope, including through original films, stunning sound and lighting, as well as amazing hair and makeup.

This year, FASHFEST is three nights and six distinctive shows from 29 September to 1 October. Tickets go on sale soon so keep your eye on social media.