Category Archives: LFW Your Canberra

Shop early. Shop local.

Ever had this feeling? This year, shop early, shop local, shop Canberra Christmas markets.

If Santa has a mega tip for all of us, it’s to avoid stress this holiday season by getting your Christmas shopping done and dusted early. And in Canberra, there’s no shortage of opportunities to do just that with several Christmas markets rolling out this coming weekend—two of the biggest close to one another at Exhibition Park in Canberra (EPIC) with both offering plenty of opportunity to buy local and handmade (also free entry and free parking).

The Handmade Market, an institution and now in its tenth year, has more than 150 stalls, including many Canberra artisans and local designers. Interstate stallholders are only permitted at the market if what they sell is Australian made. This special Christmas Market, held 7 to 9 December, is on at the Budawang and Coorong Buildings at EPIC. Stallholders sell a wide range of quality products, including artwork, jewellery, fashion, crafts and items that celebrate this special time of year. Yummy food to enjoy during the holidays is also on hand.

Elegant Elves will be at the Canberra Christmas Market with unique wreathes, stockings and other fabulous Christmas decorations and gifts.

Also at EPIC is the Canberra Christmas Market, with more than 1,750 square metres of shopping, including Christmas decorations and gifts, artisan products, pressies for pets and festive food goodies, including gingerbread houses, cookies, cakes and puddings. Marketgoers will also find gifts that are perfect for stocking stuffers and other products sure to put a smile on your face. The market, which also runs the Canberra Fashion Market, Three Sixty Market and the Canberra Kids Market has been going strong for five years. It’s on at the Fitzroy Pavilion at EPIC from 8 to 9 December.

The little ones in your life will look gorgeous in the outfits created with love by Handmade by Charley.

The Bus Depot Markets has festive items at all weekend markets from now until Santa arrives. It’s every Saturday and Sunday before Christmas.

Have a laff in the loo with toilet paper covers celebrating Santa’s arrival, available at the Canberra Christmas Market.

We vote a mighty big YES for shopping local, to support our local economy and support local makers who pour their hearts and souls into creating gorgeous items. We also vote a mighty big YES for avoiding the chaos that starts to build the minute the calendar hits 1 December. And we vote a mighty big YES for heading to one-stop shopping opportunities that have all your Christmas needs covered.

Happy shopping everyone. And happy holidays.

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The Network of Possibility

Dr Kim Vella started the Network of Possibility to fill a gap for safe and inspiring networking for women.

Networks. They can inspiring. They can be a talkfest that adds no value to your life.

On a personal front, Kim Vella finds networking where people ‘tell, sell or yell’ frustrating and exhausting so she started her own, for those in the work world and those outside it.

The Network of Possibility is a philanthropic initiative designed to unite community-minded Canberra women who want to use their time, energy and skills to give and learn from others.

‘This is not your typical networking group,’ says Kim who is an accredited executive coach with a PhD in Sociology from ANU.  ‘It’s designed as a neutral and inclusive space focused on your purpose, not your level, status or rank. We don’t shove our business cards down people’s throats. We don’t need to present elevator pitches or prove ourselves. We already know that everyone who comes is worthwhile.’

The Network of Possibility invites a guest speaker to each event, someone who has or is making a significant transition in life. Their stories are truly motivating.

Dr Danielle Klar, owner of Plumery Jewellery

This month, on 28 November, Dr Danielle Klar will talk about her journey to jewellery. Danielle was on a career trajectory and determined to become the Secretary of a department. Then she was diagnosed with cancer and later told she had life-threatening clots in her legs and lungs. She almost lost her life.

At the November Network, Danielle will talk about the process she went through to get to where she is today, which is working part-time as a GP in her husband’s medical practice and part-time with her daughter in Plumery, the bespoke jewellery business Danielle started during her long recovery.

Butterfly Wings Brooch is a brooch and a pendant. Nearly 25cts of ruby invisibly set, and over 1.5cts of diamonds.

Other Network guests have included Kristen Holzapfel who spent several years working as a child protection social worker. While her career was rewarding, it took its toll and nearly broke Kristen’s heart and her body. Kristen turned her experience into something positive, writing a book called Selfless: A social worker’s own story of trauma and recovery.

The Network has also had guests such as Pip Seldon, from the Healthy Tradie Project and Kerstin Oberprieler from Pentaqest which provides gamified experiences.

While many career women attend the Network so do those who aren’t currently working. ‘These could be women on maternity leave, or mental health leave, or someone just taking a break,’ says Kim. ‘Sometimes it’s hard for these women to find an inspiring space. The Network fills that gap because it’s completely non-judgmental. You don’t have to put your wares on display.’

Kim wanted the Network to be purely philanthropic, and so it is. A silent auction is held at each one raising money for three women’s charities—Karinya House, Toora Women Inc., and YWCA Canberra.

It was a light bulb moment that led Kim to develop The Network of Possibility. She was at a ‘typical professional networking awards event’. She sat beside a female lawyer in the public service who was settled in her career but not entirely happy with it. She didn’t want to change jobs but was looking for meaning and purpose, to feel more fulfilled. She said she didn’t know where to find it.

‘This inspired me to create a group where women could come together to get a sense of purpose and meaning with no strings attached,’ says Kim. ‘The Network attracts women who want to expand their circles of influence and drive change in another way. We share defeats and triumphs and learn from others. The Network makes peoples’ hearts sing.’

If you’d like to attend the 28 November Network of Possibility, book here.

 

The creative minds behind Canberra’s Aeon Academy

Canberra is packed with creative minds. Talented people who enrich our community in so many ways and on so many levels. The line-up of true innovators includes a local artist and a yoga teacher who devote their lives to inspiring kids to learn through creative and active play.

This story begins after award-winning Canberra artist, Teffany Thiedeman, graduated with a Bachelor of Visual Arts from the ANU School of Art and Design. She had a young baby, was practicing her art part-time but needed more. She started tutoring art classes for kids and it didn’t take long before Teffany realised there was a massive craving for her unique approach. She began teaching larger classes from her home studio, Hearth, where Teffany showcases an evolving range of figurative and sculptural work.

‘The classes got so big we even held them in the driveway,’ says Teffany. ‘The kids loved them and so did their parents.’

Hearth Studio: Home is where the art is.

The next chapter of this story sees Teffany’s partner, Mathew Long—a yoga teacher who graduated from the Australian National University in Canberra, majoring in Anthroplogy, Archaeology and History—joining forces with her. Realising the duo was on to a good thing, Mathew recommended that the classes be formalised and that their passion for igniting sparks in young people be transformed into a proper business.

Aeon Academy was born and that was 15 years ago. Since opening, with Yarralumla Primary School its main base, Aeon Academy has seen thousands of kids pass through its foundation and specialised programs for kids as young as three to teens up to 16 years of age.

‘Mathew has always been a game’s master,’ says Teffany, ‘and he was able to bring another type of programming to the table, including dramatic adventures which are so wonderful for learning. We’ve worked hard at developing creative and active play programs that aren’t available elsewhere in Canberra.’

Aeon Academy is famous for its dramatic adventures.

On Saturday, 24 November, Aeon Academy will celebrate its 15th birthday with a big bash at Yarralumla Primary School. All families are welcome from across Canberra, not just those who have kids enrolled at the Academy.

‘We’re all about spurring the imagination and building the compassion of future generations, especially important for not just individual kids and their families, but Canberra as a whole,’ says Mathew. ‘Our before school, after school and holiday programs are unique, enriching and memorable, so much so that several of our current educators were themselves students.’

Today, Aeon Academy is a not-for-profit social enterprise. It runs open houses four times a year, to give back to the community. The upcoming open house celebrates Aeon Academy’s 15th birthday and is going to be the biggest party yet.

The line-up of birthday activities includes a dramatic adventure tournament to raise funds for Freyja Christiansen and her fight against cancer. There will be art activities, including making badges and creating Aeon Academy’s famous cardboard go-carts. Live music will be by Scroggin, a local band made up partly of former teachers and students from Aeon Academy. An exhibition of art created by kids will be held, with fantastic ceramic work the students have made with a bird theme. It will feature bird baths, bird houses and awesome avian animalia.

At the 15th birthday bash, Aeon Academy will announce the winners of its inaugural Scholarship Program, with scholarships being awarded to five children.

 Aeon Academy is all about learning through creative and active play.

Aeon Academy runs free open days around four times a year, welcoming kids from across Canberra and their parents, to enjoy a day of inspirational activities. At this one, a mega birthday cake will top off celebrations.

Canberra is so fortunate to have creatives like Teffany and Mathew who have the courage of their convictions and who are prepared to solely dedicate their lives to building an inspirational place for us all to live.

The birthday bash is part of Design Canberra, a month-long festival rolling our 150 activities across the capital. Teffany hosted an Open Studio in Hearth, as part of the festival, which also included a line of functional wares under her domestic label ‘Fetish Designs’. Teffany works predominantly in clay but also with bronze, fibreglass, paper, stone and wax.

‘Art permeates my every day life and my every day life is entangled with my art,’ says Teffany.

Mathew, Founder and Creative Director of Aeon Academy, and Teffany, Founder and Artistic Director, welcome all Canberrans to their open day,10 am to 4pm, 24 November. More information: http://www.aeonacademy.com.au

Stay with us at LFW for more profiles of inspirational and hard-working Canberrans who make a difference to our lives in so many ways.

 

 

 

A story of a pear-shaped woman

Lovin’ thunder thighs. Designer Bronwynne Jones with model Swan Ricco at FASHFEST 2017. Image: Avon Dissanayake.

For years, Brownynne Jones was frustrated with fashion, so much so that she started her own label. We all have different shapes—hour glass, watermelon, banana, apple and pear. While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, says Bronwynne, the reality is that it’s easier to shop fashion for some shapes than others.

Bronwynne is pear shaped and proud of it.

‘I used to think there was something wrong with my shape because I could never find lovely clothes that fitted just so,’ says the designer. ‘Then it dawned on me that it wasn’t my problem, it was the fashion industry’s problem and so I began making my own clothes. That’s when I started to feel great and stopped worrying about how I looked.’

Image of Tiahna taken at FASHFEST 2017 by Naimat Ahmed.

Thunder Thighs is a label for the perfectly pear shaped, although Bronwynne now knows her designs fit a range of shapes, even the tall and thin. ‘It was fabulous to discover this, although the pear-shaped is still my main aesthetic,’ says the designer.

This Thursday, at M16 Artspace, Brownynne is launching an exhibition as part of Design Canberra Festival. ‘Curvature Couture: Design and the pear-shaped woman’ officially opens at 6 and runs until 25 November. M16 is where Bronwynne has her studio.

The exhibition showcases what Bronwynne does best—focus on shape as a feature not as a flaw. She’ll host a short fashion event using a combination of models with interesting shapes, such as Bec and Trish from HAUS Models. She’ll also use women who aren’t professional models. The common thread is that every woman who appears in the show is in love with their body shape and fashion.

Bec from HAUS Models. Image: Naimat Ahmed.

Thunder Thighs is still a young independent label and Brownynne has learned heaps since presenting her first full collection on the catwalk at FASHFEST in 2017. ‘FASHFEST is a real platform for local designers and an important one,’ says the designer. ‘I was so nervous, but the collection looked amazing on the catwalk and the feedback was  fabulous. The team members behind FASHFEST are so willing to share knowledge and encourage you.’

Sustainability is important to Bronwynne and she’s committed to using new and natural fabrics as much as possible and sourcing interesting roll ends and remnants. She also uses pre-loved garments, deconstructing them and using elements in her designs. A classic example is Bronwynne’s hugely popular ‘Shirt Front Back Top’, which she’ll present at ‘Curvature Couture’.

Bronwynne’s famous ‘Shirt Front Back Top’. Image: Naimat Ahmed.

This shirt is fitted at the top and has a swing back to skim over the thighs, but women who have a tummy love it too. ‘To enhance interest, I include an insert using men’s shirts and, more recently, women’s scarves,’ say Bronwynne. ‘Customers even bring in their own shirts and scarves, ones that hold memories, so the garments I make for them are highly personal and a major talking point.’

At the opening of Curvature Couture, and throughout the exhibition, guests can check out their shape against life-sized panels by String, local artist Paul Martin. The garments on the catwalk will be put on mannequins after the show and form part of the exhibition.

Brownynne presented her first full collection on the catwalk at FASHFEST in 2017. Image: Doug Hall, Studio Vita.

You can also hear Bronwynne talk about her designs at M16 on 15 November at 1pm. She’ll also present a short workshop on dressing thunder thighs on 25 November at 2pm.

In the meantime, join Bronwynne at ‘Curvature couture: Design and the pear-shaped woman’ for the official opening this Thursday, 8 November, at 6pm. The fashion show starts around 6.30.

 

 

Feminine, elegant design

Designer Megan Cannings (l) at the finale of her 2017 FASHFEST show. Image: Anthony Caffery.

When she was little, Megan Cannings fell in love with fashion. She dreamed of Princess Diana and how stylish she always looked. She dreamed of designing feminine and elegant pieces that would be worn on runways by models.

Megan’s dreams have come true. She’s participated in many fashion events in the past few years showcasing ‘Megan Cannings Designs’ in places like Sydney, Brisbane and Townsville. And she’s back in Canberra on 19 October to present her latest collection at FASHFEST.

Megan is no ordinary designer. She’s been sewing since she was in sixth grade but struggles to read patterns and openly admits she failed home economics. That hasn’t stopped her from creating stunning pieces, including intricate gowns that float across the catwalk.

Feminine, floaty designs. Image: Doug Hall, Studio Vita.

‘My inspiration behind this collection was spring in the country, which is always so beautiful and fresh,’ says Megan. ‘I’ve always adored flowers and so have designed these gowns in different styles, fabrics and colours to look like a spring bouquet.’

This is Megan’s third appearance at FASHFEST. Social media snaps of her debut show, taken by the event’s photography team, were spotted by organisers of Milan’s mega fashion event. At first, Megan couldn’t believe the invitation was genuine. When it sunk in she jumped for joy. The timing wasn’t right, but the invitation itself was a real boost. Megan is hoping to make it to Milan one day.

Megan pinched herself again when the invitation came to showcase at New York Fashion Week. She has just returned from the Big Apple and will be putting some of her pieces from that show into FASHFEST 2018. Next up, the designer is keeping her eye on Paris Fashion Week.

Megan Cannings Designs: FASHFEST 2016. Image: Heidi Flaherty.

At FASHFEST, being held at the National Gallery of Australia, Megan will kick off the evening—the first of three designers. Models will use the towering escalators in the foyer of the NGA as part of the runway.

‘I want my gowns to be something that women desire to wear,’ says Megan. ‘I want them to smile when they see them and be delighted when wearing them.’

Full on manufacturing is the next business priority on Megan’s agenda. And she’s working with a fashion boutique on the Gold Coast getting ready to stock some pieces there.

On 19 October, Megan’s collection will be followed by Charly Thorn’s evening luxe collection and then magnificent pieces by Hajar Gala Couture.

Snapped at FASHFEST 2016 by Wearefound.

This year, FASHFEST is changing it up, hosting a series of rolling shows in cultural institutions and buildings of historic significance. On 19 October, the same show will repeat twice. Other shows will be held in December and February and FASHFEST may even pop up in-between.

Clint Hutchinson, who co-founded the event with his wife Andrea, says the event will always evolve to hold interest. ‘Our strategy has always been to change it up every couple of years, partly to stretch ourselves in the creative space and partly to celebrate what makes Canberra such a special place,’ says Clint.

Tickets: www.fashfest.com.au/tickets

 

Think pre-loved

Pela’Studio will sell a gorgeous range of hats by Mich Dulce

Some people shudder at the thought of shopping at second-hand markets or in op shops. They truly do shudder.

If you fall into that category, consider a shift in the way you think. Instead of ‘second hand’, think ‘pre-loved’ and see markets as an opportunity to explore, have a bit of fun and be part of the circular economy.

Cathie Wall, who runs several markets under the ‘Canberra Markets’ banner, says it’s amazing what quality items and big brand labels pop up, including Coach, Kate Spade, Anne Klein, MIMCO, Gucci and more.

‘We regularly see high fashion, and some new items even have the original tags  attached to them,’ says Cathie. ‘Many stallholders focus on selling new or quality pre-loved pieces they no longer want or wear because they’ve changed shape, style of lifestyle. It’s not about getting rid of junk.

Tomorrow, the 360 Fashion Market is a chance to see what you can uncover.

Dinu Bodiciu hats have been worn by Lady Gaga. Visit Pela’Studio for a selection

Pela’Studio will be at 360 selling new hats perfect for racing season, and at great prices. Pieces designed by two well-known milliners will be for sale, including Mich Dulce whose creations have been worn by Lady Gaga and Georgia May Jagger. Each is made from ethical Philippine raw materials with traditional European millinery techniques. Pela’Studio will also sell pieces by milliner Dinu Bodiciu. Bodiciu, from Singapore, who is listed along the top milliners in the world. Pela’Studio will also sell super stylish shoes from the likes of T&F Slack Shoemakers from London and WXY from Taiwan.

‘Some stallholders are one-time sellers at our markets,’ says Cathie. ‘They’ve decluttered and are selling fashion items to make a bit of money. Others sell as a regular hobby and some sell clothing, jewellery, shoes, bags and accessories for a living.’

Chic to Chic Boutique with a chic jacket

While many stallholders are from Canberra, others come from interstate, including Chic to Chic Boutique from Albury, who returns to the 360 Fashion Market for the second time with some super stylish pieces across many styles.

For the first time, Canberra’s That Old Dog will be at the market, having sniffed out some quality high-fashion men’s wear that doesn’t cost the Earth, including brands like Ralph Lauren and Dolce and Gabbana.

That Old Dog sniffs out the good stuff

360 Fashion Market always has  great retro and vintage fashion for men and women. Ducky Shincracker returns with  fabulous finds. Recycology returns with amazing vintage, all carefully curated. Romance Revisited has a stall for the first time.

360 Fashion Market is on this Sunday, 10 am to 3pm, The Fitters Workshop, Kingston. Free entry. Plenty of parking.

Other pre-loved markets operated by Cathie include the Canberra Fashion Market (24 Nov) and the Canberra Kids Market (17 Nov).

The new style of FASHFEST

The FASHFEST folks have been quiet for a while but definitely not idle. It’s taken months of careful planning, but Canberra’s largest annual red-carpet event has just released its new style for 2018.

‘Change. It. Up.’ sums up what FASHFEST will roll out starting 19 October, with a prestigious launch show at the National Gallery of Australia. It’s a perfect fit. Beautiful fashion—gowns and glam cocktail attire to be precise—in a beautiful building surrounded by beautiful art. Does it get any better than that?

So what do the new ‘Change. It. Up.’ plans involve?

‘This year we’re hosting specialised shows in new venues, including iconic institutions and buildings of cultural and historic significance,’ says Clint Hutchinson, who co-founded FASHFEST with his wife Andrea, ‘These places are unique to Canberra and make the capital so special. We want guests to experience them in a new light.’

At the NGA, guests will view fashion never before seen in Canberra, by three designers selected for how their aesthetic fits with the NGA’s architecture. Models will grace the catwalk with bring to life collections by Hajar Gala Couture, Megan Cannings Designs and Charly Thorn Designs.

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Hajar Gala Couture, on the catwalk at FASHFEST 2017. Image: Jack Mohr

The same show will repeat twice at the NGA (same evening) and then the FASHFEST team will bunker down to finalise exciting plans for shows in December and February.

Hajar Gala, the principal designer behind Hajar Gala Couture, will present exquisitely detailed bridal and evening gowns, some of which she showed at Paris Fashion Week.  Hajar trained formally in the French couture method at the International Fashion Academy. In addition to her Canberra atelier, she has recently opened in Melbourne.

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Frills and more frills. Gown by Megan Cannings Design at FASHFEST 2017, National Convention Centre Canberra. Image: Doug Hall, Studio Vita

Fashion designer Megan Cannings, who has just returned from New York Fashion Week, will present pieces she put on the runway in the US. This is Megan’s third year at FASHFEST. Official event photography pushed out through social media was spotted by those behind NYFW and other major shows, and Megan was subsequently invited to showcase nationally and internationally.

‘FASHFEST is my favorite fashion show to participate in,’ says Megan. ‘The models are on the catwalk longer and the team behind the event is so professional and easy to work with.’

The youngest designer to ever participate in FASHFEST is Charly Thorn from Cooma, who was just 17 when she presented her first collection at the event. The collection included a stunning piece worn by super model Anneliese Seubert. The audience stood and gave Charly a massive round of applause.

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Charly Thorn’s resort wear collection, FASHFEST 2017. Image: Doug Hall, Studio Vita

Last year, Charly focused on resort wear at FASHFEST and this year it’s cocktail glam. Charly has also showcased internationally since her initial involvement in FASHFEST.

‘FASHFEST’s model has always been to change things up periodically to keep fashion fans coming back for more,’ says Andrea. ‘We loved being at the Canberra Airport all rugged up in winter in a small industrial space and we loved the glamour and magic of being at the National Convention Centre Canberra. Now it’s time to change it up once more.’

For exclusive updates and special offers, sign up to FASHFEST’s newsletter: www.fashfest.com.au Tickets on sale soon.

Credit top image: Co-founders of FASHFEST, Clint and Andrea Hutchinson.