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Record roll up for FASHFEST model casting

HerCanberra Team

Managing a mass of 300 models through the biggest casting ever held in Canberra’s fashion industry is no small feat. But yesterday’s casting for Fashfest 2015 went as ‘smooth as’.

Models began filtering through the front doors of the National Convention Centre at 10am sharp. First task. Sign in and get a model number. Second step. Get briefed. Third step. Manage nerves. Fourth step. Walk the catwalk, to the beat of DJ music. Fifth step. Pose before an independent panel of judges.

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Guest judge Taryn Williams, who started her modelling career in Canberra while studying at ANU, said the day was seamless and the calibre of models high. Taryn should know. She owns WINK Models, with offices in Sydney and Melbourne, and has worked on the major fashion events in both these major cities. ‘The mix of talent for Fashfest was fabulous,’ says Taryn. ‘We had some strong looks and strong walks, both guys and gals.’

This year, judges not only chose all models for Fashfest 2015, they shortlisted the cream of the crop to select two Faces of Fashfest, one male and one female.

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‘We were thrilled to find two males and two females,’ says Andrea Hutchinson, co-founder of Fashfest and co-founder of Haus Models. ‘Now we need to assess their abilities a bit deeper and make a final selection. We’ll then officially announce the Faces of Fashfest and all other models.’

The competition was tough. Fashfest will select fewer than 100 models out of the 300 hopefuls for the event, to be held 13 to 16 May.

‘The turnout was sensational,’ says Andrea. ‘Much bigger than last year and we thought that was big at 165 models. This year only 1-in-3 will get through.’

Taryn says models who don’t get through shouldn’t despair: ‘It’s a learning experience for everyone and models who don’t make it for 2015 should keep practicing and focusing on what they need to improve, whether it’s strength in walking or posing. Some were so close. While they may not have made the cut this time, with practice they’ll strengthen their position.’

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Other members of this year’s independent judging panel included photographer Leighton Hutchinson, also Fashfest’s photography director, owner of Alice Be Curious, Daniella Jukic, and freelance fashion stylist Hayley O’Neill, who also runs The Work Diaries.

Fashfest has always dared to be different by consciously selecting models of different ages, body types and nationalities. This model call was no exception.

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Fashfest producer, Steve Wright—easily identifiable at the casting in his white lab coat—says the judges also had to think about the diverse needs of the fashion designers when scoring models. ‘It’s not as easy as the tallest and the thinnest,’ says Steve. ‘Some designers need petite models, some more mature models, some athletic and some who reflect the “girl-next-door” look. We work hard at sourcing specifically for what the fashion designers ideally need for their collections. Diversity is essential.’

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The Fashfest team spent weeks organising how the casting would run, working out the smallest of details and every logistic imaginable. Then it was up to Associate Producer, Nick Ellis, looking mighty fine in his trademark cowboy hat, to work with Steve and ensure every model ‘did their thing’ in an orderly manner so the judges could concentrate on scoring. ‘We started early in the morning and ended at 4.15,’ says Nick. ‘It’s a long day for everyone, but worth every second.’

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Models were scored on looks, presence, posing and their ability to walk, including to the cool tunes carefully selected by Ashley Feraude of Magnifik. Ashley, who has pumped out amazing music at Fashfest for the last two years. It’s no surprise that Magnifik stands for magnificent. Magnificent music that is.

Fashfest 2015 will be held 13 to 16 May at the National Convention Centre.

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