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Fashfest: A catwalk to modelling success

Calum Stenning

Now in its fourth year, Fashfest has provided an ideal launchpad for young models looking for experience and insight into the industry.

Continuing its steady growth from 2013, over 500 models applied for casting in this year’s capital’s premier fashion event.

“There are some that are quite experienced and others that are more or less newcomers, but they are all really excited and willing to learn,” event founder Andrea Hutchinson says.

A third more models than last year have been cast to walk the catwalk (leaping from 100 to 150).

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Models during rehearsals.

Andrea says this year will be the most international yet, with models originally from the UK, France, India, Bangladesh, Hong Kong, Nigeria, Thailand, Austria and Sweden, and an exciting slew of fresh young local talent.

To help manage the growth, four shows will become six, and the talent will be divided into two groups, in the hopes of easing the logistic pressure on the hair, make up and dressing teams tasked with displaying the designs.

Zoe Barnard (now the face of Country Road) walked for Fashfest early in her development and returns again this year. Ilana Davies cut her teeth with Fashfest and now works internationally. Like Zoe, she considers Fashfest family and both models are grateful for the experience, and see it as an event to return to.

The models of Fashfest go through rigorous training for the event. Susanna Ellis has been on board since year one as the runway director, and uses her experience in theatre and dance to choreograph individual models.

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Zoe Barnard.

“She’s a key person in this event,” says Andrea.

Posture and nutrition are big parts of the training, and it’s all pulled together with two 3-4 hour dress rehearsals.

Fashfest does its best to nurture models and the fashion industry in Canberra and beyond, providing ongoing support.

“One of our priorities,” Andrea says, “is to give the models a whole experience.”

When it comes to casting, Andrea says Fashfest doesn’t try to fit models into the standard model look – rather, the team looks for people who walk confidently, and who could expand the overall look and age group of the Fashfest models.

the essentials

What: FASHFEST
When: 29 September – 1 October (three nights, two shows a night)
Where: National Convention Centre Canberra
Tickets: www.fashfest.com.au

Photography: Hollwill Photography

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Calum Stenning

Calum Stenning is Her Canberra’s newest and most male (read: only) intern. Three years spent living overseas has given him a renewed appreciation for Canberra life. Every day starts with coffee and the Sydney Morning Herald crossword at a favourite coffee haunt, as he is wary of the perils of dementia, and thinks crosswords are a viable safeguard. If he lives to a dementia-appropriate age (evidence says he won’t), he’ll let us know.

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