fashion, fashion festival, fashion designers, spring/summer collections, Queensland’s favourite local designers

Calling all fashionistas! Brisbane’s burgeoning reputation as a fashion destination is in overdrive with the ninth annual 2014 Mercedes-Benz Fashion Festival Brisbane (MBFF) at Brisbane City Hall, from August 24-29. Tickets are selling fast for the popular festival, which will this year showcase up to 42 local, national and international fashion designers’ spring/summer collections. So, what’s in it for punters? And why should you make the trip to the sunshine state?

As well as free, full-length fashion show, the Fashion In The City Parade at City Hall on Thursday, August 28 at 12.30pm, this year’s jam-packed MBFF will showcase trends from retailers including the Wintergarden, QueensPlaza, Brisbane Arcade and more. In addition, this year’s MBFF will unveil some of Australia’s most coveted labels such as Akira, Ginger & Smart, Lee Mathews and Easton Pearson as well as some of Queensland’s favourite local designers such as George Wu, Sacha Drake, Darb Couture and many more. These established names will also share the runway with a selection of the state’s talented new designers in the Emerging Designers Group Show.

Myer will once again open the official runway program with a show featuring the latest collections from its stable of renowned Australian designers in the Myer Spring Summer 15 Fashion Show. The 2014 program also includes the ever-popular QueensPlaza High Tea and Fashion Trends, hosted at the Ithaca Auditorium, City Hall, as well as the off-runway events hosted at the State Library of Queensland and Artisan Gallery. The King George Square forecourt will also again become style-central as it hosts the pop-up Fashion Bar. Entry is free and open to the public from August 25-29 from 5pm.

MBFF director Lindsay Bennett says this year’s “ones to watch” include emerging designers such as hot, Sunshine Coast dress and prints label Emu Designs and Jack Sullivan Bridal in the Emerging Designer Group Show and Bridal Group Show respectively. In addition, veteran fashion designer and Brisbane icon, Daniel Lightfoot will Make his MBFF debut with his new couture collection in the Brisbane Arcade Group Show.

“Easton Pearson has showed at MBFF since our very first festival and local designers George Wu and Talulah are really going great guns,” Mr Bennett says. “We are thrilled to be moving back to City Hall, it will be our third year of holding the festival there. It’s had a very extensive refurb and, with its central CBD location, it’s the perfect place to hold MBFF.

“The fact that this year we have 42 designers taking part, 38 of which are local designers, is a huge testimony to the success of the festival. It’s tough out there for retail… MBFF is instrumental in raising the profile and platform of designers. Emerging designers get unprecedented exposure; we need to be supporting and nurturing emerging local talent.”

And if you love your spring/summer collections, MBFF is a must-see, Mr Bennett says. “MBFF offers a very different collection of designers … Brisbane has really grown and evolved as a fashion destination. The fact that so many big fashion brands are increasingly looking to establish a retail presence here speaks volumes about the city’s growing fashion reputation. Brisbane can’t compete with Sydney or Melbourne, but we are really holding our own.

“And MBFF showcases Queensland fashion and our enviable lifestyle like no other event. There’s something for everyone.”

Last year’s MBFF generated retail sales in excess of $4 million in the weeks leading up to and immediately following the event, Mr Bennett says. Tickets are on sale now, starting at $39. For more information, program details and ticket bookings visit MBFF will donate $1 from every ticket sold this year to national crisis support and suicide prevention charity, Lifeline.

By Nicole Carrington-Sima