Townsvilles emerging creatives take centre stage.
This May, Townsville will come alive with a fusion of fashion, style and entertainment. The Townsville Fashion Festival (TFF) has successfully fused together our local creative talents since 2012, when fashion and creative forces were brought together in our city centre by Katelyn Aslett, an artist and designer who began mentoring emerging designers in our region. Katelyn soon opened the first pop up store in Flinders Street where designers could work and sell their creations and it went from there.
The following year would see Townsville woman, Madonna Simmons, take Townsville’s growing fashion potential to new heights. Growing and nurturing the TFF over the years, Madonna and her dedicated committee successfully grew this event into the extravaganza it is today.
Now in its seventh year, the TFF delivers so much more than just a catwalk of colour to our city, with a new focus not only on fashion, but all the industries that feed into it. “The festival creates a vehicle to identify and support our talent in North Queensland, and by invitation, the talent of Australian and International designers,” says TFF President Melissa Johns. “Townsville Fashion Festival will continue to assist in the development of regional creative industries like design, manufacturing, hair, makeup and beauty, photography and modelling to name a few. The event has grown to become a seven day programmed product in the regions calendar and now falls in line with the fashion season, events season and Townsville’s tropical winter climate.”
The TFF provides a uniquely professional platform for emerging creatives to showcase their talents. “The festival seeks to set itself apart from your typical fashion festivals which are seen more as fashion parades,” explains Melissa. “We aim to ensure the development and mentorship of emerging designers with whatever it is they require to remain successful and sustainable in the business world. Our business plan for next year will deliver several business development workshops on the calendar for all creatives wanting to be better entrepreneurs. The TFF not only contributes to the liveability of the city but also offers opportunities to keep young people in the city instead of leaving to follow the fashion path.”
Townsville Fashion Festival initiative ‘Textile Collective’ (a pop up store for emerging designers in Castletown) is also giving local designers an opportunity to test their product in the retail world. “Many designers who have been involved in the TFF and the Textile Collective store have been invited to showcase their designs nationally and even internationally. Several have been awarded and recognised at a national level,” Melissa explains proudly.
This 2018 TFF event will be quite different from previous years. “With several new members on the management committee, we have a fresh take on all aspects of the event,” says Melissa. “We are very excited to be partnering with The Ville as our Runway and After Party venue this year.”
This year’s event will see guests feel like they’re sitting at New York Fashion week with Melissa saying this year is, “all about the experience”. The unique design of the catwalk, staging, audio visual creations, production, entertainment, and calibre of models and runway choreography are set to go above and beyond in 2018. The TFF after party is also a new event in 2018 along with ‘A Taste of Fusion’ cocktail gala to be held on May 18th in the middle of Victoria Bridge. Matt Merrin from JAM and Mark Brine from A Touch of Salt will collaborate with two Chefs from China thanks to the Townsville City Council’s Sister City program to create a fusion of East meets West cuisine. It’s further developing the relationship with the Sister Cities program and encouraging more international exchange opportunities that will be extremely beneficial for the development and growth of our local creative talents and continue to see the TFF and our fashion and creative industries thrive.