End of an era:
Mercedes-Benz Fashion Festival Brisbane
Following 10 wonderful years of supporting Queensland fashion and a hugely successful 10th anniversary celebration in 2015, it is with deep regret that organisers announce the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Festival Brisbane is over.
The costs of staging the event have continued to escalate and with limited opportunities for increased sponsorship, as well as a decision by the Queensland State Government not to support the Festival, organisers have been forced to review the financial viability of running the event.
“Since 2006 the Fashion Festival has promoted the local fashion industry, supported emerging designers and showcased a world-class runway event involving some of the biggest names in Australian fashion,” said Festival Director, Lindsay Bennett.
“It is extremely disappointing that we have had to make the decision to cancel the Festival – meaning that Queensland will be the only state not to have its own major Fashion Festival this year – but unfortunately we are left with no other choice.
“It is not a decision we’ve made lightly. My team and I have explored several avenues to see if we can realistically stage an event this year of the same high standards we have reached, but unfortunately the funding is just not there,” Mr Bennett said.
The Mercedes-Benz Fashion Festival Brisbane team is deeply grateful for the backing provided by sponsors over the years. In particular, much gratitude goes to Mercedes-Benz for their unwavering interest and support since the beginning. Without their support the Fashion Festival would not have flourished for the last decade.
The Fashion Festival is Queensland’s sole major runway program and over the past 10 years, the Festival has supported local businesses and emerging talent and delivered positive outcomes for the industry and the city of Brisbane.
In 2015, 500 people were employed as a direct result of the Festival, including 180 models; 250 volunteers were engaged; and 101 room nights were booked for interstate guests and crew.
“The Festival cost well over $700,000 to stage last year and to maintain the integrity as well as evolve the event going forward it needs significant support. Queensland is the only state (except Tasmania) that does not have Government backing and to continue without it would mean a scaled down version that ultimately would not be showcasing Queensland’s creative industry to its maximum potential,” Lindsay Bennett said.
“On a personal level, I have given my heart and soul to the Festival over the past 10 years, so I am devastated to be shutting the door, however my business has underwritten the event a number of times and it’s no longer financially viable, which has led to this very tough decision.”
The consumer-driven event was designed to drive fashion retail for Queensland, by showcasing Spring/Summer collections as they arrive in-store and directly connecting businesses with consumers and providing a boost to sales
The Festival provided a vital platform for emerging designers to present their work alongside the best in fashion, as well as opportunities to mingle with industry insiders and gain high-profile media coverage.
Professor Suzi Vaughan, Deputy Vice Chancellor at QUT has been on the Advisory Panel of the Fashion Festival since its inception and says the loss of the Festival will leave a massive hole in Queensland’s cultural calendar.
“I have seen first-hand the many ways the Festival has created opportunities for the industry, and the myriad of ways it has engaged, revealed and celebrated emerging local designers as well as established Australian talent.
“It has helped put Brisbane on the map in terms of fashion and created a sense of pride in our home grown designers. It’s been a huge privilege to be involved and it’s with real regret that I see it disappear.”
Lindsay Bennett said, “thank you to all the designers, partners, media, volunteers and mostly the fashion-going Queensland public for the support over the past decade. It’s been an honour.”
Top 10 Highlights from Mercedes-Benz Fashion Festival Brisbane
- Designer car-wraps for Mercedes-Benz (2015)
- Jennifer Hawkins walks the longest runway in Fashion Festival history (2015)
- Icon Image illustrated by Megan Hess (2014)
- Napoleon Perdis attends the Festival (2013, 2009)
- Queensland Ballet performs on the runway (2013)
- Dion Lee wins Australian Fashion Graduate of the Year Award (2008)
- Swimwear destination shows over the years (Spring Hill Baths, 2006, “Mystery Location” – Howard Smith Wharves, 2007, on board ‘The Ammari’ ship moored at Portside, 2009, South Bank beach, 2010).
- Governor General Quentin Bryce attended
- High profile guests attended over the years, including: Kristy Hinze, Alex Perry, Vogue Editors, Olympic athletes, television stars and politicians.
- Highlights Parade & Wrap Party