Ok, so lets talk Fashfest. I think it is important to remember that this is only the second year for this event. Fashfest is pioneering Canberra’s budding fashion industry. The difficult thing about being a pioneer is the amount of adversity you are met with. Everybody has an opinion – what could have been done better, who was involved, who wasn’t etc. Canberra is a particularly hard town to do anything ‘different’ in because, well lets be honest, we are still a relatively small city, and we have about one degree of separation from each-other. As far as Fashfest goes I am sure everyone in Canberra is aware of it, and I am sure everyone has an opinion about it.
Smaller minds will look at Fashfest as merely Canberra ‘trying’ to do fashion and poo poo it. The broader picture is in fact that Fashfest is paving the way for a land of new opportunity in Canberra. To be fair, our fashion industry is an embryo compared to Melbourne or Sydney. But, when Fashion Week first came to Australia it was scoffed at and met with similar adversity, ‘it’s not Paris, who do we think we are, Australian designers ha ha…etc.’
Australian Fashion Weeks held in both Sydney and Melbourne are now internationally recognised events, and have facilitated the success of many, many Australian labels to the point that Australian designers are now highly regarded and sought after on the international fashion circuit. Fashion Week is responsible for a huge boom in the Australian fashion industry and facilitated growth in employment, tourism, international relations, media, PR, education and training.
This is only the second year Fashfest has been held in Canberra, and it has already gained national attention. The audience has grown from an average of 600 per night last year (far and above what was initially projected) to up to 1000 per night this year. Next year there will be more exposure, more growth and more opportunity.
Yes it is a new and comparably small fashion event, but Fashion as an industry is huge. The fashion industry that is growing here is, and will continue to provide opportunity that has not previously been available in Canberra. People who have limited experience with fashion as an industry may write it off as meaningless and shallow. But, fashion is a multi billion-dollar industry, it is real and it is hard work. Anyone involved in Fashfest this year, and last, will attest to that.
From my many years experience in fashion on a national and international scale I can tell you, Fashfest is not just about models and fashion designers. An event of this scale is about our entire community, paving the way for a new industry that will create huge opportunities for growth in all sectors of our creative community and beyond.