Photo supplied: Brisbane Fashion Month's Director Laura Churchill
Brisbane Fashion Month presented by Wintergarden is the largest showcase of Queensland designers of any event in the state. We chat with Director, Laura Churchill as she unveils the stellar line of fashion events that are taking over this October.
Congratulations on your official takeover of Brisbane Fashion Month. You were there from the beginning and developed the month-long fashion affair with former founder, Carly Vidal-Wallace. How did this opportunity come about and how has the transition been for you?
LC: Thank you! I’m really excited to be taking over as director of Brisbane Fashion Month. Working to build this event over the past two years has been amazing and Carly and I always shared a vision for an inclusive festival that showcased Queensland fashion professionally but accessibly – Brisbane Fashion Month is an event anyone working in fashion or interested in being in the industry can feel confident to be a part of.
I bought the business from Carly last year when she moved to the US and have set about continuing to grow and develop the festival according to my strengths. Carly’s background in business and manufacturing is different to mine in styling and journalism so I have naturally evolved the event along those lines – I’ve released a print publication for the first time this year called The Pocket Guide to Brisbane Fashion – it’s an 84-page directory of Queensland designers and businesses and something I’m very proud to see come together.
Taking over as director of Brisbane Fashion Month has been a very steep learning curve, working with existing and new sponsors, broadening our reach and working hard to further establish a presence for the festival, but fortunately in our third year now I’ve been in the position where it’s a recognised event with a strong reputation. Carly and I also talk several times a week so it’s great to have that support, and I’m working with some really experienced industry colleagues including stylist Liz Golding who is very well respected in the industry.
How has Brisbane Fashion Month impacted our fashion scene and how does this type of attraction fuel our creative industry?
LC: Brisbane has grown to a point where we can support multiple fashion events on the annual calendar and Brisbane Fashion Month is now the largest showcase of Queensland designer fashion in the state and we’re focused very much on championing local designers which the industry has responded very well to. We have great relationships with industry and really listen to what designers and our audience needs and wants from an event. We’re really working to advance our creative community as a whole.
Our presenting partner Wintergarden has been so supportive since the beginning with Brisbane Fashion Month and continues to support our designers with a pop-up store tenancy in the centre for the month of October which is incredible exposure and opportunity for them. This year we will have five different labels in the Brisbane Fashion Month pop-up for one week each at a time across the month of October and into November.
We also continue our Business Workshop event this year which will be presented by Australia Post and will offer networking and education opportunities to our attendees which have proved incredibly valuable. Lastly, our Creative Competition supports emerging talent and this year’s prize includes a place in our Next Gen fashion show presented by Next Hotel Brisbane on October 19, as well as accommodation, supplies, business coaching and other prizes.
How has Brisbane Fashion Month changed since your takeover compared to last year?
LC: The growth of Brisbane Fashion Month between year one and two was massive and into our third year this year continues to evolve at the same pace. Audiences will see a lot of changes this year which have come about as the result of feedback from our 2017 event and additional support this year from Wintergarden and some valued new sponsors including the Queensland Government, West Village and Next Hotel Brisbane.
Key new initiatives include:
Additional runway events. We’ve added two shows in the Queen Street Mall on October 19 – the Next Gen runway presented by Next Hotel Brisbane for emerging designers, and a Bespoke Designer Showcase which will showcase the specific work and skills of our custom designers including Fiorenza bridal and Darb Bridal Couture.
Another new runway event is the West Village Fashion Show on October 24 which will be staged at the new West Village precinct in West End and feature some of Brisbane and Queensland’s most loved labels including Rudi Miro, Wilde Willow and Rachel Burke.
Our Resort and Finale events have been combined into one outstanding event, the Resort Finale Showcase, to be held on the pool terrace at Next Hotel on October 31. This is BFM’s pinnacle event and really celebrates what makes Queensland fashion so special. Ten Brisbane and Queensland designer labels will showcase on the runway and span everything from active and swim to incredible high-end resortwear.
Ethical Clothing Australia will present a forum in the mall outside Wintergarden on our BFM stage on October 19, discussing ethical production and Australian manufacturing with national ethically accredited brand Cue and Brisbane label Nico Underwear.
The Pocket Guide to Brisbane Fashion is a new addition to BFM and will act as an enduring go-to Guide for people looking to shop from and support local fashion, accessory and beauty brands.
We’re hosting a private event for our sponsor NAB Private on October 10 also which will be a gorgeous intimate dinner, runway and designer Q&A.
Photo supplied: BFM Sacha Drake dress, Silk Laundry hair tie, Bianca Mavrick earrings Photo Cory Rossiter.
34 Queensland designers will have their collections showcased during Brisbane Fashion Month. Are there any designers that are set to steal the spotlight?
LC: It’s impossible to pick favourites but what I’m really excited about is that BFM showcases the depth and breadth of our industry. We have a hugely successful activewear brand d+K showing in the Resort Finale alongside Brisbane favourite Sacha Drake and Gold Coast label Sonia Stradiotto Couture which will close the show in spectacular style. At West Village, we’ll open with Rachel Burke who is an incredible talent and will feature some more favourites, Maiocchi, Nelson Molloy, Jericho Road, Boom Shankar – the line-up really is amazing.
Is there one event you’re most excited about? If so, is there anything about the event that you can reveal exclusively to our readers?
LC: The Business Workshop on October 19 is a really dynamic and exciting event. We’ve partnered with Australia Post this year to bring in some national speakers and take the event to the next level but it’s been a huge success over the past couple of years in connecting and upskilling our wonderful network of designers and business people. If you’re running a fashion business be it a designer, stylist, photographer, writer or consultant, this is a must on the October calendar.
In your own words, why should every fashion and style lover attend Brisbane Fashion Month?
LC: We are so fortunate to have an incredibly vibrant fashion industry here in Queensland and Brisbane Fashion Month is your opportunity to show your support, whether you’re in the industry and looking to learn and grow or are a fashion lover who wants to see something new and exciting. Tickets are great value with every ticket including a great seat, full drinks and catering package and goodie bag, so it’s the perfect chance to dress up in your Queensland best and enjoy a great night out!
For further information visit www.brisbanefashionmonth.com.au.