This week for Spotlight On, we sat down with Jacinta Richmond, the Founder and Director of the Sunshine Coast Fashion Festival to get the behind the scenes scoop ahead of this year’s show.
In its 9th year, the increasingly popular show is set to receive even more attention due to the cancellation of the Brisbane leg of the Mercedes Benz Fashion Festival, leaving SCFF as Queensland’s only established, and internationally recognised fashion festival.
Promoting both emerging and established brands and showcasing the hottest summer styles, the festival is set to be a hit. But don’t take our word for it, read on and see for yourself exactly why you should be heading up the coast this October.BT: Tell us a little about how the festival first came about…
JR: The Sunshine Coast Fashion Festival was a follow on from the Sunshine Coast Style Awards, both of which were established in 2008. A couple of designers who provided prizes for the Style Awards asked me to put on a summer fashion show for them. The event took on a mind and life of its own.
BT: What would you say is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in the preparation process?
JR: The biggest challenge has always been a financial one. The Sunshine Coast Fashion Festival is self-funded and is supported by myself, and a team of volunteers, all working on the event for free every year. The aim has always been to improve year after year and the funds raised go back into the event, not into pockets. It is all about supporting the design talent and providing opportunities for not just the creatives but for the youth in our region… Networking, experience and opportunities for everyone.
BT: In its 9th year, do you feel as though SCFF has come a long way from its humble beginnings? How has the show evolved?
JR: Definitely. That first year in 2008 was basically myself in all roles (including usher), and just two audio visual guys to handle lighting and music… It was held poolside at sunset. After that first sell-out year, (we’ve gone on to become) the only established fashion festival in Queensland with international recognition! Now in its ninth year, we have over 20 labels on catwalk including local, national and international. In addition, we have the trade lounge, a space where labels can sell direct off the catwalk and (brands selling items such as) jewellery and shoes can also sell to the public and industry. The Sunshine Coast Best Dressed List and Style Awards, the Sunshine Coast Design Awards & Hall of Fame, as well as an Industry Q & A, also make up the program of events now. In the lead up, we host social media, catwalk, makeup and styling as well as model agency scouting, a bloggers lunch and more.
BT: What is the focus of the festival?
JR: The focus is the celebration of fashion. The catwalk shows and trade lounge have always held the main focus, but as we continue to grow, there is something for everyone both public, industry and media.
BT: For all the designers out there, what do you think the show has to offer?
JR: The Sunshine Coast Fashion Festival offers an affordable way to showcase your summer range to an active purchasing audience of buyers, agents and the public. For those showcasing it offers guaranteed media coverage, networking, education and support. We are internationally recognised for discovering emerging talent, which is my personal passion and it is also a great experience to network with established talent who return year after year to be a part of the event.
BT: Who are some of your favourite designers from this year’s line up?
JR: I am not opening that political can of worms! But I do have my personal favourites. For the event itself, I am thrilled to see Nicola Finetti, Secrets Shhh and Myer all returning for a second year, alongside international award winning swim labels from Germany, Opera and Sunflair (both of whom only show in Australia at the Sunshine Coast Fashion Festival) for a fourth and third year respectively. I have my eye on a couple of emerging labels and I am excited to see how they go in the coming years. For me, it is watching new talent showcase, put in the hard yards and return each year, taking on board the education that is available to them through their experience and then go onto national and international success. It’s the commitment that makes a designer one of my favourites.BT: What emerging trends can we expect to see showcased?
JR: We are definitely still seeing a flashback to the 1980’s (I think this is my third time in the 80’s) and the 1990’s. It’s a more streamlined look for each, not as excessive for the 80’s styles although the cuts are there. A sleeker grunge look for the 1990’s but the minimalism is Deja Vu. Most importantly for the Sunshine Coast Fashion Festival is seeing those designers who buck the trends. SCFF designers design for a global lifestyle – five star resort wear, or ready to wear and evening couture that is easily transferrable to the streets and big cities of the world. While some will bring you “what’s on fashion” you will see others designing for design, ahead of the trends and for the global jet-setter who appreciates style, individualism and quality.
BT: What is your vision for the festival next 5 years?
JR: “To redefine amazing. If you change the game, you change the world.” That quote is the go to for the incredible core team I now have with me as we develop the Sunshine Coast Fashion Festival to a high quality, high impact, 4-day event that is so jam packed you simply won’t have time to sleep.
BT: How can our readers get involved?
JR: Labels and brands can apply to be involved by contacting: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com and request a prospectus (early bird closes March 31) but applications are open until July. Buyers, agents and the general public are all welcome to participate. Simply head to the website and join the appropriate database to be kept up to date or to purchase tickets go to www.sunshinecoastfashionfestival.com.
A Spring-time road trip to the Sunshine Coast sounds pretty good to us, so be sure to grab your tickets so you don’t miss out! Here is a flashback of what you can expect this year!