It’s exciting news for Canberra and for the capital’s creative industry as a whole. The CEO of FASHFEST, Clint Hutchinson, will be leaving his full-time position as Managing Director of ZOO Group at the end of this year to concentrate on a new chapter in his life. What is that chapter? LFW caught up with Clint in a Q&A session; so let’s hear all about it in Clint’s own words.
So this is a massive change. What inspired you to take such a leap? I’ve been in the creative industry for as long as I can remember. Creativity flows through my veins. I’ve been the Managing Director of ZOO Canberra for 15 years and have loved every minute of my time with the agency. But I have other creative initiatives underway—outside of ZOO—that are near and dear to my heart. I’ve developed these with my wife, Andrea, over some time. One day it just clicked. To get everything to the next stage, I need to be able to dedicate more time to these initiatives. And I need time to work through some new ideas floating about in my head.
What creative initiatives specifically? Well FASHFEST is the big one. Before FASHFEST, Canberra was the only capital city in Australia to not have its own fashion event. We’ve changed that. The event grew rapidly and it now demands more and more attention to refine it and expand it.
Over and above FASHFEST, I’ll be working more closely on HAUS Models, , which I co-founded with Andrea after the inaugural FASHFEST. We had a bevy of models who weren’t part of an agency after the first year of the event. They enjoyed working with us and walking for FASHFEST. We enjoyed working with them. So we thought a new modelling agency was a logical suggestion.
Tell us about NOMI. What does it stand for? Well, NOMI is another creative initiative we’re developing. It’s pronounced ‘know me’ and is the new children’s label Andrea are developing. We gave guests a sneak peek of some NOMI fashion at FASHFEST, on closing night. It was really well embraced. So stay tuned. This is in the early stages but we’re super excited about its possibilities.
Anything else in the pipeline? You bet. Andrea and I are developing a creative incubator to help businesses in the creative space grow in many ways. That includes fashion labels who want to build their business strengths, musicians who are on the move and other creatives. It’s early days and things are still being worked out but we believe this will be good for Canberra. After all, many creatives are ‘creative’ but not necessarily ‘business focused’. That’s cool, but to be sustainable they need to be both. We think we can help.
And I’ll become a partner of Braddon Tailors, to help them move even higher up the fashion chain. This is a great story of a business that’s doing well and they’ve now opened permanent bases in Adelaide and Sydney. As you saw on the catwalk at FASHFEST this year, Braddon Tailors has seriously started to create women’s wear. So more exciting possibilities ahead on that front too.
There’s so much in the pipeline. Are you going to be able to manage it all? Andrea and I are determined to make our dreams work, but we both slowly came to the realisation that it was time for me to start a new chapter. My job as Managing Director of one of Canberra’s largest creative agencies was exhilarating and super demanding. It wasn’t possible to sustain both streams so, after 15 years, of very rewarding work, I took the decision to pursue new personal initiatives. It’s a risk but I’d bet on it doing well.