An Activist: a rebel who encourages others to change the world and a mischief maker who incites open revolution. These thoughts were front-of-mind after attending Night One of Fashfest.

Canberra’s biggest fashion event of the year shone an incredibly large spotlight last night on the city’s exciting mix of young, local and established fashion and artistic designers. As crowds entered the new National Convention Centre location, not only were they sceptical about the new location, but they were also buzzing to see what the Fashfest team had in store for its third year of shows. There was nothing to worry about. The venue looked as amazing as the talent on show.


Ziyah kicked off the evening with beach couture chic; inspired by glamour, with a mix of sport and beach leisure. Erin Spain’s innovative designs featured a mix of prints, materials, cuts and tones that were clear crowd favourites on the catwalk as they portrayed a sleek and sophisticated look.

A ‘candy girl meets Alice in Wonderland’ style was certainly what came to mind when Rachel Eager’s label, Little Lane Jane, made its way down the runway. A label that is flirty and playful, Little Lane Jane featured dresses and blouses with flattering shapes as well as an elegant touch. Elements that were adored most from this collection were the many curls and bows that layered the models, from head to toe.

A much anticipated designer was Luke Chiswell, and WOW did he put on a show. Known for his iconic image ‘Straight Face’, the launch of Luke’s new collection showed the crowd how to combine art with fashion. Luke’s collection explored raw materials, grungy cuts and delicate textures. Flowers that were a feature in the models mouths also provided an added artistic touch and proved that there was mischief in the making with this designer.

As we are approaching the colder seasons, it was extremely refreshing to see Vivien Mitchell’s, Solar Barelabel grace the runway. Think vibrant colours, touches of sparkle, along with a psychedelic look and feel. Solar Bare definitely hit the bench mark of looking cool and feeling hot!

Designed for women wanting to wear dresses and skirts made of beautiful fabrics, with bright and colourful patterns, That Bird Label certainly made a statement with its 1960’s retro theming. The cross wrap dress designs, chunky prints and bright colours made for a quite cheerful and exuberant runway.

The Prodigal Daughter certainly encouraged us that there is a way to combine culture and fashion. Phoebe Mwanza’s designs captured the marrying of Africa’s bold and colourful prints and contrasted them with the tempered, mute landscape of Australia. As each of Phoebe’s designs came onto the runway, cameras were flashing and many fashionistas minds we going crazy as to what piece they wanted to add to their wardrobe.

Bringing a touch of class and sexiness to the show was Simone Perele, a designer who showed extreme empowerment and a very sophisticated feel. This French-inspired lingerie was a welcome to the catwalk, not only from the incredible models that flaunted their beautiful bodies, but also with the very dainty and cheeky designs.

Stars, spots, stripes. You name it, we saw it during The Professor’s Daughter runway showcase. Moving away from the LBD and grey suits, Mariska Thynne showed various designs that were not only cute and quirky, but are sure to be the envy of the office. This enviable label showed hand-crafted, timeless and tailor-made classics that incorporated a twist with bold prints and hand finished detailing.

A designer that has been a favourite in previous years, Perpetually Five + Clare, closed the show with their ‘mischief in the making’ designs. ‘The Haunted Mask’ that was worn by all models showed both a rebellious and innovative side to the label. The boundaries were pushed with hounds-tooth prints, triangular designs and a chic-grunge feel.

Overall, Fashfest Night One was as successful, and as mischievous as expected. Nine equally unique and talented designers have set the bar extremely high for the next three nights of shows, and have proved to us that the Canberra fashion scene really is getting bigger and better every year. Not only were we all surprised, but also incredibly glad to see that yes, the Fashfest team could pull it off yet again.

This piece was written for OutInCanberraFollow @out_in_canberra and @astylishmoment on Instagram for further Fashfest updates.