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Big names help boutique fashion festival draw attention

October 14, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

The international success of home-grown designers has helped a small town fashion festival develop into an important national event.

The Mercedes Benz Adelaide Fashion Festival, which started as a suburban community event in 2010, is now turning heads across Australia thanks to the wealth of talent it can draw upon in South Australia.

Adelaide, which has less than a third of the population of Sydney or Melbourne, is home to a myriad of fashion entrepreneurs, including designers, photographers, retailers and models.

Among the 32 local designers will be formalwear favourite, Paul Vasileff, who last week launched his Paolo Sebastian: X exhibition at the Art Gallery of South Australia.

Other Adelaide brands include Acler, Stephanie Chehade, Cinquante, Lexi Clothing, and the individual labels of Australian Fashion Labels.

Adelaide-born accessory designer Tiff Manuell, who exhibited her designs at London’s Tate Modern gallery earlier this year, will also bring her magical world of colour to life in a runway event on opening night.

Adelaide Fashion Festival creative director Chris Kontos says the event has become more of a national festival with the introduction of the Myer and David Jones’ partnership, which sees designers being showcased inside the stores.

“Designers are understanding that there’s a national audience now, and they could be in Myer and David Jones. It’s huge – it’s floorspace they never thought they could physically get,” he said.

“Everyone’s just improved the way they’re working. We’re just trying to build more national and international exposure – it’s all about being on show and putting our best foot forward.”

The Festival is supported by Vogue Australia with a runway event in the heart of Adelaide on Friday 13 and Saturday 14 October.

Kontos credits the new collaboration with Vogue to the success of Paul Vasileff’s brand, Paolo Sebastian, on the international stage.

“Having someone like Paul has helped a lot, let’s be honest. We’re definitely on the radar now and we’re not just that South Australian festival – we’re recognised nationally,” Kontos said.

“Vogue gives us the credibility of industry – they’re giving us their stamp of approval – and when Vogue nods, everyone listens.”

“It’s amazing to be associated with that magazine. It gives the designers the ability to know that they have a future within the industry.”

Also joining the South Australian fashion alumni will be Adelaide model Akiima Akech, who at 22 has signed with international modelling agency IMG Models has since walked for Hermes and Elsa Schiaparelli at Paris Fashion Week.

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