Tag Archives: Sovata

Gungahlin Collective

Gungahlin is the fasted growing satellite suburb in Canberra, and its shopping centre has undergone significant expansion in the past 12 months, and now … welcomes the innovative Gungahlin Collective which opened its doors on Saturday 2 September.

Sash Belle bags

Sash & Belle bags, clutches and totes, in leather or vegan leather

Gungahlin Collective is the brain-child of Kristy McPhillips of Sash & Belle. Kristy has been designing Sash & Belle handbags, totes, and clutches since 2013, and spotted a gap in Gungahlin for corporate workwear, and fashionable, but not expensive, clothing and accessories.


Zilpah Tart dress celebrating Canberra’s Balloon Spectacular

Gungahlin Collective includes local designers Zilpah Tart—renowned for her Canberra themed collections and a FASHFEST regular, and Sovata—also a FASHFEST designer showcasing clothing and millinery. Betty Basics is based in Sydney and includes trendy women’s clothing that will take you from work to play with a gorgeous range of super comfy, mix-and-match tops, bottoms, and jackets. And, of course, there’s a complete range of Sash & Belle bags!


Sovata Millinery and Race Wear

But it’s not all about the women …

Gungahlin Collective has a fabulous range of children’s wear including Aster & Oak who specialise in 100 per cent organic cotton for babies and toddlers, kids’ dinnerware in eco-friendly bamboo from Bobo & Boo, and books and soft toys from Canberra’s own Cheer Chick Charlie.

Bobo and Boo

Eco-friendly bamboo dinnerware for kids in a fantastic range of colours – from bobo&boo

Jewellery and accessories are also included in the collective, together with 100 per cent soy candles by Erica, and stunning contemporary artwork by local artist Amy Basnett.

Erica candles

Relaxing soy candles by Erica

And the guys are not forgotten either, with ties and accessories from Christian James—one of the few guys who can show you how to tie a Full Windsor.

Gungahlin Collective is located in the Marketplace (Big W Building) and is open seven days a week.

Christian James

Ties and accessories by Christian James

FASHFEST 2017 dates announced!

It’s hard to fathom that it’s time to start filling up our 2017 calendars, with the New Year just around the corner, but FASHFEST has got out early with its 2017 dates—28 to 30 September. So if you’re keen to be seen at Canberra’s biggest, annual red-carpet fashion event, pop these dates in your diary.

Assemblage Project on the catwalk - photo by Samantha Taylor

Assemblage Project on the catwalk – photo by Samantha Taylor

“We chose September again because it aligns FASHFEST with Australia’s overall fashion calendar,” says Andrea Hutchinson, Managing Director. “It’s perfect for spring fashion season and the kick start of Canberra’s major tourist season.”

True to its beginnings, FASHFEST—now in its fifth year—will showcase the talent of local and independent designers. It will also continue to push out the work of many other creatives who make the show a gold-star event, including film, music, art, photography, makeup, hair and more. Organisers are also already on the hunt for new labels from interstate and overseas, to keep the event growing and growing, says Andrea, so guests can expect new designers on the catwalks.

Sovata - photo by Doug Hall

Sovata – photo by Doug Hall

Here at LFW, we love how FASHFEST is unique each year and look forward to new talent. But we also hope our faves from 2016 will be on show including Zilpah tart whose gorgeous Canberra themed prints turn fashion into art, and Sovata who makes the most stunning headwear that complements every outfit. Pure Pod designs beautiful and wearable eco-friendly clothing, and who can forget the stunning designs from 17 year old Charly Thorn from Cooma—we would love to see her back next year. Another of our favourites is Assemblage Project which is a collective of designers including Karen Lee, SZN, Wendy Voon, and High Tea with Mrs Woo. You can find out more about our local favourites on their website or Facebook page.

Pure Pod at FASHFEST 2016 - photo by wearefoundau

Pure Pod at FASHFEST 2016 – photo by wearefoundau

And didn’t we just love the foyer action this year. Fletcher Lovell shoes, Harlotte hair and make-up, Pialligo Farm—with their delish smokehouse goods, and our very own fast FASHFEST illustrator. Who will we see in the foyer next year?

Harlotte - photo by anitaentriken

Harlotte in the foyer – photo by Anita Entriken

Heavy duty planning is already underway for next year’s event, which will again be held at the National Convention Centre Canberra.

Amazing designs from 17 year old Charly Thorn - photo by Samantha Taylor

Amazing designs from 17 year old Charly Thorn – photo by Samantha Taylor

FASHFEST is here to stay, with CEO Clint Hutchinson is leaving his full-time job as Managing Director of Zoo Group in the next week or so to dedicate even more time and energy to the event. “FASHFEST has grown rapidly over the past five years and now demands more attention to refine and expand it,” says Clint. “Stepping down from my full-time role will help me and Andrea take FASHFEST 2017 to the next level. We’ll also roll out exciting pop-ups and activations throughout the city.”

Zilpah tart - photo by Samantha Taylor

Zilpah tart – photo by Samantha Taylor

In 2016, for the first time, FASHFEST curated a special segment on the runway to show support for the work of a selected charity and The Red Segment featured the work of 12 designers all in red or featuring red, in support of the Heart Foundation. The 2017 charity has not yet been selected.

Andrea and Clint Hutchinson

Andrea and Clint Hutchinson

Follow FASHFEST on: www.fashfest.com.au https://www.instagram.com/fashfest/

https://www.facebook.com/fashfestcanberra/  https://twitter.com/Fashfest

A Treasure Trove of Art and Fashion!

Trove is a collective of artists, creators, designers and much more, and is celebrating fashion meets art with a free evening of entertainment on Friday 11 November from 7pm.

Dissonance by Red Photography; hair and make-up by Lauren Cataldo

Dissonance by Red Photography; hair and make-up by Lauren Cataldo

Trove made a bold move in May this year when it moved to new premises in the Garema Centre in the city, and expanded its collective to include two local and well-known fashion designers Sovata and Dissonance. Fashion meets Art aims to move beyond a typical shopping or market experience and offers a relaxed and intimate environment for customers, designers, and artists to engage with each other.

Fifth Season Artwork

Fifth Season Artwork

At Fashion meets Art you can meet local artists Fiona Hill, and Jennifer Baird from Fifth Season who will be offering a live painting demonstration, and you can chat with in-house designers Sovata and Dissonance, and three guest designers Karen Lee, Zilpah Tart, and Pure Pod. All five designers have shown collections at FASHFEST, and one of Sovata’s designs won 2016 Melbourne Cup Fashion on the Field at Thoroughbred Park.

Stephanie Kwong in Sovata at Melbourne Cup Fashion on the Field, Thoroughbred Park 2016. Photo by Andrew Campbell. Jewellery by JAC Studio

Stephanie Kwong in Sovata at Melbourne Cup Fashion on the Field, Thoroughbred Park 2016. Photo by Andrew Campbell. Jewellery by JAC Studio

You can relax and watch the fashion parade, and listen to live music by acoustic guitarist David Bath, while enjoying your complimentary wine and cheese, and cross your fingers that you just might go home with a fantastic prize giveaway!

Pure Pod at FASHFEST 2016, photo by Andrew Donato

Pure Pod at FASHFEST 2016, photo by Andrew Donato

At Trove everything is designed and made in Australia—often in Canberra—so you’re getting a true local product. And Trove isn’t just art and fashion.

Trove collective also includes jewellery, gifts, soft furnishings, children’s clothes and toys, and candles and aromatherapy. So you can do all your Christmas shopping in the one place, and what better to get in early at Fashion meets Art this Friday at Trove.

Karen-Lee at FASHFEST 2016, photo by Holly Williams

Karen-Lee at FASHFEST 2016, photo by Holly Williams

Fashion meets Art: Where—Trove Canberra Cooperative, Garema Centre (upstairs with lift access), Garema Place, Canberra City. When—Friday 11 November 7 – 10pm

Luxury Indulgence at #fashionXhyatt

What to do when you’re invited to ‘an afternoon of Luxury Indulgence’ organised by the Hyatt Hotel Canberra? Well, obviously, you go … and so I did. Complete with beautiful gardens, bell boys in their 1920s plus fours, and afternoon teas, our small group of invitees indulged in an afternoon of gourmet treats in luxurious surrounds.


The afternoon included two fashion shows by FASHFEST 2016 designers Sovata, Zilpah Tart, Karen Lee, and Braddon Tailors, and allowed Hyatt patrons to get an up-close look at local designers. FASHFEST co-founders, Clint and Andrea Hutchinson, were also there to chat about FASHFEST and their amazing plans for further development, which includes their new children’s fashion label NOMI. Music for the fashion shows was by Magnifik with Neon Honey.

Designers (l-r) Braddon Tailors, Sovata, Zilpah Tart, Karen Lee, Sovata; (seated) Braddon Tailors, Karen Lee

Designers (l-r) Braddon Tailors, Sovata, Zilpah Tart, Karen Lee, Sovata; (seated) Braddon Tailors, Karen Lee. Photo by Leighton Hutchinson

In between the fashion shows we were treated to the most amazing afternoon tea in the very opulent and recently opened John Howard Room, which used to be pantry! At tables for two, Director of Culinary, Nitin Kumar, outlined a few of the items on our three-tiered stand of goodies. Savouries included mini salmon brioche, ribbon cucumber sandwiches, chicken wraps, and bite-sized smoked duck canapes, with the sweets including chocolate, mousses, macarons, and the traditional scones with jam and cream. I would love to go into more detail, but suffice to say it was truly amazing both in presentation and taste.


Executive Pastry Chef, Gerold Gstrein, explained that they only use natural ingredients for their pastries, so the sweetness is barely there, and the subtlety of flavour is amazing—you could taste each individual flavour in each bite. It was hard to choose a favourite as everything was brilliant, but the cucumber sandwiches—ribbons of light bread spread with a cream cheese and topped with slivers of cucumber—were miles ahead of your average cucumber sandwich.


LFW would like to thank Avon Dissanayake—Marketing Communication Manager, Hyatt Hotel Canberra, for his invitation, and Fredrick Arul—General Manager, Hyatt Hotel Canberra who took time to make sure we were given the five-star treatment!

FASHFEST co=founders Andrea and Clint Hutchinson, with Avon Dissanyake (l) and

FASHFEST co-founders Andrea and Clint Hutchinson, with Avon Dissanayake (l) and Fredrick Arul (r). Photo by Leighton Hutchinson.

Afternoon tea is available at the Hyatt on Friday 2.30 – 5pm, and Saturday and Sunday at 11am – 1.30pm, and 2.30 – 5pm.


Bowers of Flowers at FASHFEST

Flowers. Bursts of colours. Wonderful fragrances. The season has shifted and Floriade, Australia’s biggest celebration of spring, is in full bloom. By the LFW Team.

floriade-flower-bannerFlowers often inspire fashion designers, including several who will soon wow guests with new collections at FASHFEST. The capital’s red-carpet fashion event has shifted its timing on the annual social calendar and, for the first time, is being held during Floriade (29 September to 1 October). We thought it would be fun to ask designers about flowers and their work. A surprising number are incorporating flowers into their shows—some as a main feature and some as an accent.

Pure Pod’s designer, Kelli Donovan, is collaborating with Canberra-based botanical design studio, Field & Coppice. The studio is owned by Lauren Anderson whose design aesthetic is underpinned by a love of Australian native flora. Another collaboration is between designer Yumi Morrissey, from Zilpah tart, and Peony N’ Pearl. We can’t give the details away but promise a creative approach.

by Kirri Pizzingrilli

by Kirri Pizzingrilli

Eucalyptus leaves feature on the latest print by Kira Pizzingrilli, who appears at FASHFEST for the first time this year. Kira is an emerging Central Coast-based women’s clothing and textile print label. Her ‘Unearth’ collection pays homage to the 90s Aussie beach style and celebrates the raw beauty of our bushland.

Textiles by Rasa Mauragis, Snowy Textiles

Textiles by Rasa Mauragis, Snowy Textiles

Rasa Mauragis, also making her debut, will feature ecoprints of local plants found in the Snowy Region, where she lives. Some fabrics showcase the foliage print and have also been dyed using plant pigments. Rasa shares the catwalk with two Cooma designers—Charly Thorn and Elle Hopwood. Elle can’t wait to present a dress she’s designed with flowers stitched to the bottom.

Eder by Anna (image below), a tres chic label from Sydney, has a few pieces in her collection that are tulle with embroiled flowers. Can’t wait to see the results!  Designer Anna Smith is going to be a fav with her mix of sophisticated, sport lux, tailored pieces in bold and sophisticated colours with a decidedly French aesthetic.



We also have a sneak peek of a piece that will make an appearance in Megan Cannings Designs’ collection. Megan is fast building a reputation for her extravagant custom-made gowns, which appeared at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Festival (Brisbane), emerging category. One garment she’ll showcase features large fabric flowers. She’s also using large lace flowers and her tiaras feature flowers.

Naomi Peris Bridal will launch a blue silk floral print cape on one of the wedding gowns she’ll present on the catwalk. This label encapsulates the modern, sexy bride with gowns handmade using French laces, intricate beading and fine tailoring. Jade Sargent, from one of Canberra’s most loved and well-known labels—Sovata—isn’t giving too much away, not wanting to ruin the surprise element, but she will be using white roses as a catwalk accessory.

Eder by Anna

Eder by Anna

Abstract flowers feature on bright, colourful shoes by local designer Penny Lovell, who owns fletcherLovell. Their spring collection is a conversation starter. Penny’s Spanish-made flats pop colour into life. They’re wearable art for the foot. Penny will host an exhibition of her shoes throughout FASHFEST, and you can catch her in the foyer.

FASHFEST 2016 is being held at the National Convention Centre Canberra 29 September to 1 October. Tickets, which start this year at $49, are on sale now: http://www.fashfest.com.au

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

Treasure Trove in the City!

By Aine Dowling

Trove banner

Last year we visited Trove when they were at Gold Creek and one of our comments was that if you didn’t know it was there you wouldn’t find it … Well, it seems Trove thought that too because now they’ve relocated right into the city centre and are upstairs in Garema Place. The space is also about twice as big as they had in Gold Creek, and they’ve expanded their profile to include two well-known Canberra fashion designers—Sovata, and Dissonance.

Hats and headpieces by Sovata

Hats and headpieces by Sovata


Trove is a collective (or cooperative) of fashion, jewellery and accessories, aromatherapy candles, kids clothes and toys, homewares, and art. If you’re looking for something special, or a wee bit different, you’ll definitely find it a Trove!

Polished wood and aromatherapy by Wood and Wax

Polished wood and aromatherapy by Wood and Wax

The collective is currently made up of around 16 designers and artists each of whom take turns to ‘man’ the shop for a day and when we visited it was Michael from Wood and Wax. “It’s great to have a bigger space,” said Michael, “and it also means we can look for more designers and artists to join the collective. When we were at Gold Creek we only had about eight members, but now we’re able to expand to around 25 or so, and we’re definitely interested in seeing applications from more local artists and designers.”

Soft furnishings from Blue Radish

Soft furnishings from Blue Radish

The quality of the arts and crafts at Trove is exceptional. From the beautifully polished woodwork from Wood and Wax, through the jewellery and accessories, gorgeous homewares from Blue Radish, and the stunning glass art from Elena’s Canvas.

Stunning painted glass by Elena's Canvas

Stunning painted glass by Elena’s Canvas

“Our only criteria for membership is that it must be locally designed and made,” says Michael, “and members have to commit to working in the shop for a day (about once every three or four weeks), and join for a minimum of three months. But, joining the collective means the rent is shared, so the more members—the cheaper the rent! Plus, there is no commission on sales, so the designer gets 100 per cent of the sale.”

Fashion by Dissonance

Fashion by Dissonance

Next time you’re in the city take a trip to Trove.

Interested designers, artists, and crafters can apply for Trove membership via their website.

Photos by LFW.


By Wendy Johnson

Designer applications are out, dates are locked in and in 2016 FASHFEST will hold more catwalk shows than ever before. The new dates for Canberra’s pre-eminent and largest fashion event are 29 September to 1 October.

FASHFEST 2015 - photo by Martin Ollman

FASHFEST 2015 – photo by Martin Ollman

Why the switch from May? Co-founder Clint Hutchinson says the change in dates was logical.

“We’re now aligned with Australia’s overall fashion calendar and the timing of ‘sister events’ such as the major weeks in Melbourne and Sydney,” says Clint. “And, let’s face it, September is warmer than May in the capital so guests can glam up, as they love to for FASHFEST, without shivering their way through the show.”

Another major change is the number of shows FASHFEST will host in 2016—six in total, with two each day. “The new dates also mean we have the time needed to prepare for the added shows. Each year we get stronger and the event gets more exciting. This year is no exception,” says Clint.

Once again, the event will be held at the National Convention Centre, powered by sound and lighting that will transform the space into something magical.

FASHFEST 2015 runway, National Convention Centre - photo by David Burke

FASHFEST 2015 catwalk, National Convention Centre – photo by David Burke

Designer applications are out now and due 14 February. Once again, FASHFEST is  throwing its weight behind local designers as well as designers from interstate and overseas, focusing on independent labels. “Last year, we had 30 designers, including Melanie Child from New Zealand, who was a big ticket item on the catwalk,” says Andrea Hutchinson, Co-founder. “So we’re encouraging a wide range of designers to apply.”

FASHFEST 2015 - photo by Red Photography

FASHFEST 2015 – photo by Red Photography

“FASHFEST is young by Australian standards and we’re still growing and maturing, learning more and more all the time”, says Andrea. “We’ve come a long way in just three years and our ability to put on more shows during this, our fourth year, is possible because of how much we’ve progressed and the creative team working with Clint and I on the event.”

Let the fashion fun begin … !

LFW will keep you posted on events relating to FASHFEST as they unfold and we’ve already locked in the dates so we don’t miss out.

Fans should also follow the event on: www.fashfest.com.au  https://www.instagram.com/fashfest/


Fashion on the Field—what we’ve learnt so far …

LFW is off to Thoroughbred Park’s Melbourne Cup Race Day in November and we’ve been chatting to a few people, including the amazing Power of Presence guru Trish Murray, so we thought we’d pass on a few tips to get you through the day in comfort and style from top to toe—literally! And, use the opportunity to plug some of our fave local fashion designers at the same time.

Myer Fashion on the Field

Myer Fashion on the Field

Stunning colour from Sovata

Stunning colour from Sovata

Wear a hat, or fascinator, or even a hatinator … but definitely wear something on your head. Wearing a hat serves two purposes—it looks good, it saves your hair if it’s a windy day, and provides shade on a hot day … OK that’s three. Plus, it’s almost THE LAW to wear something on your head at the races. Check out these stunning designs from Sovata (right), BM Designs, and spring floral bands from PeonynPearl (see images below).




Wear a dress. Forget the pants—leave those to the guys—and get a nice dress. Preferably not too much cleavage (note: from Myer Fashion on the Field ‘a predominance of exposed skin is not classed as classic race wear’), and unless it’s pushing 40 degrees celcius cover your shoulders—you don’t want sunburn the next day and you don’t want to be constantly hoisting up skinny straps that slide down. Come to think of it, if it is 40 degrees even more reason to cover your shoulders, and a nice light short jacket or shrug style is perfect. Who can forget the famous Parliament House dress by Zilpah Tart? Check out her gorgeous spring/summer Bloom Collection.

Petal Dress by Zilpah Tart - Bloom Collection

Petal Dress by Zilpah Tart – Bloom Collection

Get some colour. You can add pizazz to monochrome with colourful shoes or bag, or stick to black and white and go wild and colourful with your head wear. According to Vogue (the guru of all fashion) spring/summer colours are lemon, tangerine, strawberry pink, subtle greens, bright blues, and hot peach.

Summer colours -

Summer colours …

Get a nice clutch bag—one that comes with a slender detachable shoulder strap is handy for après races. You don’t need to cart around a big tote or handbag. Get a clutch that will hold a small purse, phone, lippy, keys, and a couple of tissues. The lovely Sash & Belle has a great selection of clutches and small handbags just perfect for the event.

Colourful clutches from Sash & Belle

Colourful clutches from Sash & Belle

Don’t overdo the jewellery! You can sparkle without covering yourself in bling. Coco Chanel had this great tip ‘before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take something off’. I think she meant jewellery … yeah, she did.

Legs. To tan or not to tan. To wear stockings or no stockings. It’s always the legs … Seriously though, if you wear sandals then forget the stockings, and if it’s scorching hot definitely forget the stockings. If you absolutely must get a spray tan make sure you do it a couple of days before so it has time to calm down a bit. Alternatively, you can just get a good quality over-the-counter fake tan. We recommend Ambre Solair or Le Tan, both of which are easy to apply and give a nice subtle tint.

L-R: Wedge sandals by I Love Billy, Missano, Top End

L-R: Wedge sandals by I Love Billy, Missano, Top End

Wear wedge heels. They’re more comfortable on grass and uneven surfaces, and offer a bit more support if you’re standing for long periods. Spindly heels are definitely a no if you’re on soft surfaces! Sandal wedges with an ankle strap are trendy, comfy, and look great.

and finally … get your toes done! Polished toes are a must in sandals.

So there you have it. LFW race tips—from top to toe!

Amazing headwear from BM Designs, and floral bands from PeonynPearl

Amazing headwear from BMdesigns, and floral bands from PeonynPearl


FASHFEST—Colour my World!

Yes, we know we loved the monochrome, but sometimes you just have to have a bit of colour, and FASHFEST designers really know how to pop a colour. Take a look at some of the colourful and gorgeous creations over the four night event—certain to brighten up any Canberra winter day!   By Aine Dowling

Listed in alphabetical order. All photos by LFW unless indicated.

BM Designs

BM Designs4          BM Designs2

Boho BirdBoho Bird night 4

Hana Apparel Designs

Hana2            Hana1


Miranda Sa’khino

Popping colour by Miranda Sakhino. Model: Lydia Honan, Hair and makeup: www.sakhino.com, Photographer: Andrew Kiyingi

Popping colour by Miranda Sakhino. Model: Lydia Honan, Hair and makeup: http://www.sakhino.com, Photographer: Andrew Kiyingi




Sovata (R) - showcased her collection on Night 3

Sovata (R) – showcased her collection on Night 3

The Prodigal Daughter

Prodigal FF6                     Prodigal FF4

The Professor’s DaughterProf FF1

Zilpah TartZilpah Tart night 4