Backstage at BNKR – Adelaide Fashion Festival 2017

Cameo roles

Anyone who checked in with my social media over the past weekend would know that I just attended the Adelaide Fashion Festival – and once again, as a guest of the organisers, the South Australian Tourism Commission. Thank-you to the SATC for their hospitality.

This was my fourth AFF in fact. Given that the festival celebrated its 10th anniversary this year, I feel I have a pretty good handle on how the event has grown – which is exponentially, both in size and quality.

From a small smattering of shows dotted in and around the suburb of Norwood back in 2010 when I first attended, the festival now has a great-looking CBD runway hub and prominent marketing and branding throughout the city. This year’s event hub was the Torrens Parade Ground, located a matter of minutes by foot from Rundle Mall, Adelaide’s high street equivalent to Sydney’s Pitt Street Mall.

Both David Jones and Myer joined the program this year with their own on-schedule shows, which I believe was a first. Vogue Australia also came to the party with a Vogue Fashion Festival with the retailers in Rundle Mall, a potted version of its Vogue Fashion’s Night Out concept.

The festival closed with not one, but three, quite uplifting presentations of the Disney-inspired ‘Once Upon a Dream’ Spring 2018 collection of young Adelaide couturier Paul Vasileff aka Paolo Sebastian, who is also 2017’s Young Australian of the Year. Set to a medley of Disney anthems, the collection was a collaboration with the Hollywood studio and a posse of Disney Australia executives were in attendance.

Congratulations to the AFF team, helmed by creative director Chris Kontos, for bringing together a terrific program of events, which included at least one remote location show set in the quite spectacular grounds of the 166 year old Seppelstfield Estate in the Barossa Valley. The SATC is promoting this event as a destination fashion festival, which marks it apart from the plethora of other essentially city-bound, consumer-facing fashion festivals in Australia.

Great to also see the growing strength of the modelling talent from Adelaide’s key agencies, notably Pride Models, Finesse Models and newcomer Azalea Models.

In the seven years since I touched down in Adelaide for the first time, to my eye the city really does seem to be far more more multicultural, something that would appear to keenly reflected in the growing diversity of its modelling exports, notably Achol “Akiima” Ajak, the face of this year’s festival and Adut Akech Bior.

To follow are a few backstage galleries shot at AFF shows that I attended over the weekend.

First up, the BNKR group show from Adelaide’s Australian Fashion Labels brand collective, which operates five women’s fashion labels including Finders Keepers and C/Meo Collective, as well as the BNKR multi brand retail concept.


Disclosure: I attended the Adelaide Fashion Festival as a guest of the organisers