Fashfest: Cut from the same cloth or just a hand-me-down?

Remember those gold leopard print leggings you bought last season and never wore because Canberra is way too neat and vanilla for your Yonce inspired feels? Well whip ‘em out gurl because Fashfest 2015 is just around the corner. It’s all happening – more designers, sick tunes and a new venue. For those of you who are unaware, FashFest is Canberra’s biggest annual fashion event. Local and interstate designers come together to present collections of innovative and exciting new work in a wonderfully accessible way.

Fashion has historically been guarded by hauntingly beautiful stick figures in billowing new season Prada coats. The exclusive fashion club allows only for members within the industry or those top few layers of society – the North Wests of this world take the front row at fashion week by storm leaving the rest of us enviously judging her ‘sick kicks’ and wondering how she snagged seats next to Anna Wintour. Whether they meant to or not, the brains behind FashFest have crushed those stigmas, welcoming anyone and everyone to experience fashion at its most fun. The clothes are great but the experience is even better. FashFest gives impoverished students like us and the Canberra elite alike an opportunity to participate in a thrilling and entertaining live show.

Having said all that, I definitely have my criticisms, as every arrogant intellectual would. Fashfest has two core goals. First to promote local Canberra talent because apparently we’re sah gr8 and second, to make fashion accessible – see above spiel. If Fashfest is Helen revered for her perfection and beauty, as an envious Grecian, here’s my Trojan horse. Despite this humble, ‘fashion by and for the people’ attitude, as they grow they too succumb to the elitist structure. The appeal of Fashfest in Canberra is exactly that – the glitz, glamour and opportunity to embrace your vanity in that Manning Cartell poncho you bought at a sample sale but you hope everyone thinks was full price. So is this a push towards democratising fashion, or are they simply perpetuating the hierarchy? Giving us plebs an opportunity to experience the world of the rich, famous and fashionable so we elevate and admire them more;

And then there’s the ‘showcasing local talent’ trope. In its first year, 2013, Fashfest endeavoured to ‘shine the spotlight on up and coming local talent’; a goal that Producer Steven Wright believes they have already achieved. Wow! A truly impressive achievement in just two shows; So this year, Fashfest is changing. According to Wright, international designers who are “a little bit more conceptual and a little bit more intellectual” will be hitting the runway at the new venue – The National Convention Centre.

Whether you’re dying to experience what I’m sure will be an incredible show (I’m only writing this article for the media pass) or dying to get glammed up and pout for your Insta (so quiche) you should buy a ticket at the oh so accessible price of four shows for $300. See you there. But seriously, I’m so excited.

Fashfest runs from May 13 to May 16 at the National Convention Centre. Tickets are available on Ticketek.

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