The people’s fashion festival

September 2012

  • Christopher Sanders

The Adelaide Fashion Festival (AFF) celebrates its fifth anniversary with more events spread across the city than previous years, as the festival continues to flourish from its Parade hub.

Beginning in 2008 as a four-day festival in Norwood, the AFF (which is run by the City of Norwood, Payneham & St Peters) is now a nine-day celebration running from October 19 to 27 at key Adelaide fashion districts. Though the trends and styles of 2012 are different to 2008 (as well as the scale of the festival), one thing hasn’t changed. The focus of the AFF still operates on its guiding objectives.

“The focus has remained absolutely the same as when it started,” Adelaide Fashion Festival Director Skana Gallery explains. “There are three key objectives. The first is to support local emerging design talent. The second is to promote the Parade as a premier fashion shopping destination. And the third is to put on a festival that appeals to everyone – the whole community. And those have been our guiding principles all the way and still are.”

With the festival including a wide range of events from exclusive VIP parties such as the opening and closing parties to free parades in Rundle Mall and The Parade, the AFF is a unique fashion festival as its goal is to make fashion accessible for the whole community. 

“We’re about being a consumer festival that is for everyone,” Gallery says. “We’re trying to break down that, ‘oh no, it’s just for the fashionistas’ barrier.”

The festival’s second key objective is to promote The Parade as a premier fashion district but by moving to shopping hubs such as Rundle Mall, King William Rd, Adelaide Central Plaza and the Myer Centre. Is that objective still relevant?

“It’s been a tricky balance,” Gallery says. “The City of Norwood, Payneham & St Peters, which conceived and continues to put on this event, retains what we see as the key or, the anchor, events of the festival. That’s the Young Designers Showcase where the emerging designers show their final collections and are judged and awarded. And the other one is the Parades on Norwood Parade event where we close off the street and build a giant catwalk. That’s free for the community. Those are the two highlight events of the festival and by retaining those, we’re happy to share the festival around Adelaide because it is the Adelaide Fashion Festival.”

The Young Designers Showcase has been a major stepping stone for some of Adelaide’s best design talent as previous winners of the Emerging Designers Award include Jaime Sortino and Necia’s Alexandra Ireland. 

“We’re really proud of the Emerging Designer Award and as you say there’s been some fantastic winners and even some of the contestants have done so well. That includes Paolo Sebastian, Jaime Sortino and Necia, as they’ve just gone on to great things.”

The AFF is the highlight event of what is now a jam-packed Adelaide season of fashion events with September and October welcoming A Night of Fashion, Fashion Avenue, Westfield 4 Days of Fashion, In Season as well as parades at the major shopping districts including Burnside Village and Rundle Mall. Gallery welcomes the other events as it gets “everyone shifted into the fashion gear”.

“A few events around this particular time of year, when the spring and summer fashion is starting to appear, is great for fashion in Adelaide and great for our emerging designers.”

Adelaide Fashion Festival
Friday, October 19 to Saturday, October 27
adelaidefashionfestival.com.au

 

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