Would you be surprised to learn just how much fashion designer talent there is on the Sunshine Coast? And it’s not all bikinis and sarongs, I can tell you. Stylehunter Collective is a media sponsor for the 8th Sunshine Coast Fashion Festival 2015 and the designer line-up is strong. So strong, in fact, the event has had to be moved to a bigger venue.
I was fortunate to interview Creative Director, Jacinta Richmond, about the Sunshine Coast Fashion Festival and her role as the visionary.
Now in its 8th year, what is the focus of the Sunshine Coast Fashion Festival?
It’s focus is to give designers a showcase for their new season ranges, first and foremost. Designers from emerging to established brands and affiliated industries celebrate a creative industry that touches people globally – because everyone wears clothes.
How did inspiration for the event evolve ?
In 2008 I received a request from two local fashion designers I began the event in 2008 following on from a request from two local fashion designers who had attended an event I held earlier in the year. One of those labels, Hive Swimwear, has continued to show with us every year since.
The first year was two audio-visual guys and I. Originally, I held every single role in the lead up as well as at the event, except audio-visual for which I had two guy. I was the usher, I sourced and packed gift bags, handled media and bank rolled the event too. I had great support from the fashion editor of the now defunct Weekender Magazine on the Sunshine coast to help me source more designers. Designers arranged their own models (most of which were friends or clients), hair and make-up. Every designer put in the effort to promote the event. In 2009 I had two volunteers who remained with me for years to come until interstate moves for their dream careers (it is wonderful though that they fly back in each year to sit front row).
Now, so much has changed. I have an amazing base team of five, plus professional photographers, dressers, models, hair and make-up teams, ushers; and many of them return each year. The event now has established relationships with key stakeholders and we work closely with them. The Festival has local, national and international labels that return to show with us and new designers now showing each year.
What have been the biggest challenges when putting together an event such as the Sunshine Coast Fashion Festival?
The biggest challenge has been, and continues to be, financial. The vision is to up the ante each year otherwise the costs would be virtually the same as in 2008. To be bale to provide to designers an amazing platform that has an enviable reputation is part of ‘upping the ante’ so that costs money. People hear the terms “fashion festival” or “fashion week” and assume we are rolling in big dollars with high wages. That really couldn’t be further from the truth. Certainly the potential is there but it takes a team with everyone chipping in, knowing where the money goes and realising that it’s a long term commitment to reap the benefits.
How do you select the designers to appear in the show?
There is a stringent application process. We look at cut and quality, their vision for their label and their attitude.
A lot of focus goes to the main cities for fashion, what do you think the Sunshine Coast has to offer compared to the big cities?
The Sunshine Coast offers everything that is big city. However it also has an outlook, thanks to the lifestyle, that is less constrained and much more global.
I have noticed that you have models of all ages and sizes walk the catwalk during the SCFF is that a conscious decision?
That has been a conscious decision since day one. Too often in this industry you hear “oh if I was that young, tall and size 6 I could wear it too”. Sometimes they need to see it on someone their age and their size. We are all different and our models reflect that.
What are your fashion predictions for 2015?
There is a huge shift right this minute away from fast fashion and into investment pieces. Dollar per wear and if I store this piece after this season will I be able to wear it again in the future or will my daughter want to wear it in the future. Looking for quality, followed by an individual aesthetic.
What one questions would you like an interviewer to ask you and what would your answer be?
Do you live and breathe the fashion industry all day every day?
No. I am the least pretentious fashionista in the world. I have often had people who have seen me in the media or at events come to my door and when I answer, ask if I am home. No make-up, no hair done, no heels, no head to toe finely tuned look. I’m just a woman who lives by the beach, answering the door barefoot.
If you could pick the brain of any fashion designer, dead or alive, who would it be and what would you ask?
I am less about picking the brain of a designer and more about picking the brain of fashion royalty Nick Wooster and Diane Pernet. I would just let them speak. You can learn a whole lot more just by listening and absorbing.
What are you earliest or most poignant fashion memories?
My earliest memories are of playing dress ups in my grandmother’s ballroom dancing costumes (she was national ballroom dancing champion). Racks lined with furs, stoles and my mother’s dance hall dresses that hung in my grandmothers closest. Full skirts, sequins, billowing sleeves all accessorised with my great grandmothers costume jewellery.
What are your favourite fashion magazines, blogs, and websites?
Don’t Call Me Penny, of course! Porter Magazine, Italian Vogue Magazine, The Zoe Report, Oracle Fox (being a supporter of all Sunshine Coast based fashion businesses), Melbourne Girl, Fashion Weekly, The Goop. I prefer an all rounded lifestyle blog or website over exclusively fashion.
Are you a shoe or bag girl?
I have an equal quantity of both. It’s the balanced Libran in me.
How do you think your own personal style has evolved over the years?
It has always had a rock aesthetic but as I mature it is less rock chick and more rock edge given to classic styles.
The Sunshine Coast Fashion Festival will be held on Saturday 17th October 2015 at the Event Centre, Caloundra, QLD. Combined Glamour and Luxe fashion and stay packages will be available as well as VIP and general tickets. Sign up on the website for the latest news and ticket information.
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