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Bianca Armstrong wins big, fashionably

HerCanberra Team

She’s in Year Nine and addicted to fashion. She recently won a national design competition.

And she first entered Canberra’s red-carpet fashion event as a young guest and is now assistant backstage manager.

Bianca Armstrong jumped for joy when she heard she had won top award in the national Wool4School fashion design competition for her year, against 1,200 other applicants. The competition, run by Australian Wool Innovation, inspires young designers from high schools across Australia to put pencil to paper and take part in a real-life fashion design project using Merino wool fabrics

Bianca's designs for Woolskool

Bianca’s designs

For 2016, students were challenged to design an innovative sport outfit capturing the Aussie team spirit. Thinking big, Bianca chose to design one to be worn at the medal ceremony for the Winter Olympics 2018.

“Being a figure skating team with true Australian spirit means that we love the smell of eucalyptus like fresh ice, and hearing the glide of the blade against the ice calms us like the sound of the Australian coast,” says Bianca. “The uniforms had to look great but also address performance and functional needs.”

Bianca incorporated layering into her winter-sport uniforms—base, middle and outer. “The variation on colour was my take on Australia’s natural green and gold, to show the raw side of who we are and our pride,” she says.

Bianca incorporated several wool fabrics into her design, including merino mesh for its efficient moisture management and a circular single knit jersey that is light weight.

For young Bianca, the win confirmed that she wants to study at the School of Fashion and Textiles at RMIT University and make a career in the industry. Indeed, she’s already gaining direct industry experience through FASHFEST.

Bianca's Moodboard

Bianca’s Moodboard

Bianca and her mum first bought a four-day gold pass to the inaugural event in 2013. “I’ve always loved fashion,” says the young designer. “Not only was FASHFEST Canberra’s first major fashion show, it was my first fashion show. I became addicted to the industry.”

Bianca returned to FASHFEST as a guest in 2014, again with a four-day gold pass. This time, she was given royal treatment and taken backstage to meet co-founders Clint and Andrea Hutchinson and some designers. She was so blown away she reached out to Producer Steve Wright in 2015 and was invited to lend a hand at an official photoshoot. “I could see Bianca was determined to be in the industry, so kept her motivated,” says Steve.

Next, FASHFEST accepted Bianca as a volunteer backstage. “I jumped at the opportunity,” says Bianca. “Seeing how the event comes together is amazing. The energy backstage and the excitement is unlike anything else.”

Now Bianca is well and truly part of the FASHFEST team, as assistant backstage manager.

“I can’t believe I’ve gone from being a guest to working alongside the talented people who put the show together,” she says. “I can’t wait to see what 2017 brings.”

Feature image by Samuel Broomby

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