Tag Archives: Canberra fashion events

Steal the Thunder!

Let’s start with the facts. Women come in all shapes and sizes. All shapes and sizes. The pear shape is just as beautiful as any other and no one knows this better than Bronwynne Jones, who founded her own label catering to this target market last year.

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Bronwynne Jones – owner and designer Thunder Thighs

Thunder Thighs is about the shape, not about the size”, says Bronwynne. “I design from size 8 up, but in a way that complements women who are naturally smaller at the top and curvier at the bottom.”

Bronwynne is currently full steam ahead, cutting, sewing, fitting and fussing with models to get her first full collection on the catwalk at FASHFEST 2017. She’s excited but admits it hasn’t been entirely easy. “The FASHFEST model casting was an open one, but the fashion industry tends not to focus on true pear-shaped women,” says Bronwynne. “Not many modelling agencies have pear-shaped models on their books either.”

 

And the name? Doesn’t it just draw unfair attention to the unique body shape Bronwynne designs for? “I’m actually calling it for what it is and am proud of it,” says Bronwynne. “My clients don’t necessarily have a problem with their shape. They have a problem with not being able to find attractive clothing that works well on their bodies. It’s frustrating, and I know because I have thunder thighs. I want to design for this group of women and who they are, not what the fashion industry says they should be.”

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Thunder Thighs at CARDIF Collective Fashion in the Alley in April 2017

A self-taught designer, Bronwynne focuses on fitting, flattering and the body positive. She designs foundation (essential) pieces and pieces that add flair and sells through CARDIF Collective in Kingston. “My tops fit the bust line well and swing or float over the bottom,” says Bronwynne. “Cigarette pants and skirts fit at the waist and hips, and fall from the thighs. Short tailored jackets with a swing, not straight, work a treat too.” Since opening her label, Bronwynne has been thrilled to sell to women of other shapes who are attracted to her designs. “Many women can wear swing tops, for example,” says Bronwynne. “It’s a fabulous style that stands the test of time.”

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Thunder Thighs at Fashion in the Alley

For the FASHFEST catwalk, Bronwynne has designed pants, tops and jackets, some with sculptural elements. She’ll also present her popular ‘shirt front back top’ which features the front and optional collar from a recovered men’s shirt. Customers can help design their own top by selecting from Bronwynne’s impressive collection of quality men’s shirts or by bringing in a shirt owned by a loved one. Bronwynne will also feature her attractive infinity scarves created out of men’s vintage silk ties on the catwalk.

The designer is showcasing solid black and white, mono prints, and shades of pinks and purples. Sheer fabric will also make a grand entrance as will hand-crafted headpieces with colour and flair.

“It’s been a steep learning curve getting ready for FASHFEST,” says Bronwynne. “There’s so much to consider beside the garments. Hair, makeup, props, shoes, and with only a couple of weeks to go—it’s full on.”

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Model Swan Ricco (size 8 – 10) wears Thunder Thighs at Fashion in the Alley

FASHFEST is on from 28 to 30 September, at the National Convention Centre Canberra, with after parties at QT Canberra. Thunder Thighs proudly makes its appearance at FASHFEST on opening night, 28 September show 2, 9pm. FASHFEST tickets are available from the FASHFEST website and start at $49.

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Getting ready to walk-the-walk at Fashion in the Alley

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From Manuka to Milan

It’s a dream come true for any designer. Showcasing the garments they’ve poured their heart and soul into on the catwalk during the most prestigious fashion week in the world—Milan! And two FASHFEST designers have been selected to showcase their designs this year.

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Naomi Peris Bridal – FASHFEST 2016. Photo by wearefoundau

So it’s no wonder that Naomi Hogie, the designer behind Naomi Peris Bridal, is still pinching herself that she’ll soon be jetting off to Italy, as nervous as can be, to present her 2017 collection—Fairy Tale Princesses in the Amazon Jungle—to the international community. Then it’s back on the plane and straight into fittings for FASHFEST 2017, with Naomi’s stunning and unique designs sure to wow guests on closing night.

So how did it all happen?

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Naomi Peris. Photo by Sparkling Weddings Photography

Naomi has been designing for years, thrilling brides of all types and styles. Last year, she unveiled a full collection at her inaugural appearance at FASHFEST, with official event and media photographers going wild over her non-traditional bridal designs and how beautiful they looked on the models who graced the catwalk. Many of those images were pushed out through social media and some caught the eye of organisers of Milan Fashion Week.

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Naomi Peris Bridal – FASHFEST 2016. Photo by wearefoundau

Ryadal Chapman, of Oxford Fashion Studio, one of the organisers of Milan Fashion Week, was impressed. “All of our events are by invitation only. A team of five curators review 8,000 designers a year looking for original concepts who we feel press will respond to and people will love,” Ryadal said.

Naomi’s super excited about her latest collection. “I’ve really pushed my design aesthetic,” says the designer. “I decided that I didn’t want rules to restrict what I design. I’m using unconventional fabrics that are normally not used in bridal as well as garments that push the boundary of bridal design. It takes about six months to prepare for a new collection.”

 

Also approached to participate in Milan Fashion Week, after her 2016 FASHFEST appearance, was Megan Cannings of Megan Cannings Designs. Like Naomi, Megan wasn’t initially sure if the invite was a scam. It was real.

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Megan Cannings Designs – FASHFEST 2016. Image by LFWMagazine

Megan will be writing organisers about possibilities for 2018. This year would have been challenging given the designer had lost her home, sewing machine, sewing equipment, patterns and thousands of dollars of fabric, during Cyclone Debbie in March when her small miner’s cottage in the Whitsundays was destroyed.

Megan’s life seemed impossible to piece back together, but after weeks of cleaning up and backed by sheer determination, the designer got new equipment and moved to Sydney where she’s working on her latest collection. At FASHFEST, she’ll present feminine gowns, chiffon kimonos, dressers and other stunning work.

Megan Cannings 2 image by LFW

Megan Cannings Designs – FASHFEST 2016. Photo by LFWMagazine

“I can’t wait to come back to Canberra,” says Megan. “The FASHFEST team is so professional and supportive and that includes hair, makeup and all the other organisers. My collection last year was so well received. It was so rewarding.”

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Megan Cannings (r) at FASHFEST 2016. Photo by Studio Vitae Doug Hall

Tickets for FASHFEST 2017, to be held again at the National Convention Centre Canberra, are on sale now through www.fashfest.com.au  The event runs from 28 September to 30 September, with two shows a night.

Naomi Peris Bridal will showcase on closing night, Show 1.

Megan Cannings Designs will showcase on closing night, Show 2.

FASHFEST—Breaking News!

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.

Photo by Leighton Hutchinson

Photo by Leighton Hutchinson

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.

Clint Hutchinson in action at FASHFEST 2016 - photo by Sparkling Weddings

Clint Hutchinson in action at FASHFEST 2016 – photo by Sparkling Weddings

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.

FASHFEST Co-Founders Clint and Andrea Hutchinson - photo by Sparkling Weddings

FASHFEST Co-Founders Clint and Andrea Hutchinson – photo by Sparkling Weddings

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.

Dress Me Up!

Dress Me Up—Embrace your Style is a Canberra charity fashion and style event organised by creator and founder of Sash & Belle, Kristy McPhillips, and supports the Olivia Lambert Foundation for kids with aggressive forms of cancer.

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The first Dress Me Up event was held in September 2014 and was extremely successful; raising over $2,500 for the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation, and all proceeds from this year’s event will go to the Olivia Lambert Foundation. Olivia Lambert was a gorgeous 8 year old who, in 2012, was sadly taken too by neuroblastoma, a rare and aggressive childhood cancer. The Olivia Lambert Foundation was established to help lessen the financial burden on families with children who are suffering neuroblastoma or other aggressive forms of childhood cancer.

Carly Backpack

Carly Backpack

The event kicks off at 3pm at CARDIF Collective with canapes and bubbles, and time to view the new Sash & Belle Spring collection of handbags, backpacks, clutches, and totes. You will also get a first preview of Sash & Belle’s launch of the Timeless Collection available for wholesale clients, and be able to browse other local and regional designer products at CARDIF Collective. Next up is a styling session from Style Liberation who will take you through the maze of how to choose looks, colours, and styles that suit your position, personality, and lifestyle. Learn how to enhance your appearance and boost your confidence.

Kendal Clutch

Kendal Clutch

Life consultant Leanne Shea Langdown will also be on hand to show you how you can achieve your goals and live happy and healthy lives—learn to make changes, and do the things you always wanted to do! The session winds down around 5pm with more canapes, bubbles, mingling and shopping! Who doesn’t love that?

Dress Me Up—Embrace your Style fashion event is on Saturday 8 October at the CARDIF Collective in Kingston from 3pm – 6pm. Book your tickets here, have some fun, and help raise money for the Olivia Lambert Foundation.

Riley Tote

Riley Tote

All bags from Sash & Belle. Images courtesy Sash & Belle.