Fashion steps into the spotlight

CANBERRA may not be known for its fashion scene but there’s no lack of talent.

Local stylist, designer and model, Hannah St James, is so confident in the depth of creativity here that she’s developed the capital’s first fashion festival.

Creative director Hannah St James: Image by Dell, with make up and hair by Jolina O’Hair.

Avant Garden: Canberra Fashion Festival 2012 is to be held on November 23-25 and will promote the best of Canberra style.

“We’re showcasing all local designers and a lot of the collections are exclusive so not only have they not been seen on the runway before, but they’ve never been seen at all,” Hannah says.

The 24-year-old former public servant is now focusing full time on her business, House of St James, and has big plans to make Canberra’s fashion festival an annual event. She has aspirations to make it a week-long festival in the image of L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival.

“I’m passionate about promoting Canberra as the creative hub that I really think it is,” she says.

“I’d really like to promote a more healthy body image… And I think Canberrans in general have a more conservative dress style and I’d like to see a little bit more avant garde style or even just a little bit more colour on people.

“I’d also like to get into helping environmental and charitable causes. I think that fashion and charity are a very logical match because they bring the people with money to the people who need money.”

Avant Garden kicks off with VIP night on Friday, November 23, at Zoo advertising, but the main event will be held on the afternoon of Sunday, November 25 at Hotel Realm and will feature catwalk displays of local designer collections, guest speakers and pop-up events.

There will be an after-party on Sunday night at Ostani Bar & Restaurant, on the ground floor of Hotel Realm.

As well as a runway show, the festival will feature live music, dance, guest speakers with designers including:

Caitleen Moloney – They Lied! We can Fly! (Womens Avant Garde)
Janette Lenk – T Heinrich (Womens Streetwear)
Jennifer Apps – Jennifer Aniela (Womens Eveningwear)
Johnny Day – Knave & Fables (Mens Accessories)
Kelli & Sean – PurePod Sustainable (Womens Ready To Wear)
Rohan Thomas – E4 (Mens Streetwear)
Rohan Thomas – Fisherman Skate (Mens Streetwear)
Sara & Charlotte – Sara & Charlie (Womens Ready To Wear)
Sofia Polak – Sofia Polak (Womens Eveningwear)
Vicky Kidd Gallichan – Rockstars & Royalty (Womens Bridal & Eveningwear)
Zoe Brown – ZOE (Womens Avant Garde)

Information at Tickets at


Image credit:

Photographer: Eric Piris of Red Photography
Stylist: Hannah St James
Hair stylist: Sara Jayne Burke
Make-up artist: Claire Warmenhoven
Model: Molly Folkard
Molly wears: Corset, by Zoe Brown

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