As FASHFEST nears (quick, get your tickets now!), the focus turns from the excitement of the model castings and the media announcements to the designers themselves. Obviously, a fashion show wouldn’t be possible without the garments, and FASHFEST is special in that each of the designers are quite local, interesting people. There is personality and stories behind each of the collections, and sometimes some very difficult hardship, as well. One designer in particular, Megan Cannings, who showcased at FASHFEST last year, had her home, business and designs completely destroyed by Cyclone Debbie at the beginning of the year. She wowed the audience with her feminine and quite sensual collection at FASHFEST 2016, went on to showcase at Mercedes Benz Brisbane Fashion Week, and has brought her passion again this year, 6 months after Cyclone Debbie, to the National Convention Centre with a full new collection for FASHFEST 2017. I spoke with Megan about her inspirations and motivations, her upcoming collection and how she got started in the business of fashion.
Ronja: Can you give us a little insight or sneak peek into what inspirations or themes you’ll be exploring in this year’s FASHFEST?
Megan: My style will forever be feminine floaty gowns. This year I have incorporated more fitted bodices giving more shape to the female form. I can’t wait to see them on the catwalk at FASHFEST 2017.
I was initially going to use only black fabric but after losing all my possessions during cyclone Debbie, including all my sewing equipment and fabric, I decided I need to bring life in to my collection. So along with black silk and black lace I have the most gorgeous floral fabric in a dusty pink.
I have designed a range of evening wear as well as some day wear.
R: When you’re not creating, what could we find you doing?
M: Until a few months ago I had been running a business with my Dad for the past years. Cyclone Debbie tried to take that from us too but we managed to get it back up and running within two months. Lady luck shined on us and a buyer took it off our hands just in time for me to rebuild and get stuck into re-designing and making patterns and garments for FASHFEST. It would have broken my heart not to show at FASHFEST.
So for the first time in seven years, I am focusing my energy on my dream of having my designs out in the world. A job is on the horizon, however, since we all have evil bills to pay.
R: You’ve showcased at FASHFEST and Mercedes Benz Brisbane Fashion Week, so you’ve got a lot of experience under your belt. What are the hardest things about putting together and showcasing a line?
M: I find the hardest thing is sticking to my designs. They always change as I am sewing which is annoying because this has a ripple effect with everything else down the line then having to change. I find myself constantly updating patterns and recutting new styles.
I also find it challenging to figure out what people want to see and buy, but that’s part of the process.
R: What is the most rewarding thing about putting together a collection?
M: Seeing my garments being worn by glamorous models on the catwalk is a wonderful feeling. I vividly remember my collection from FASHFEST last year. So much work goes into a collection but then you see someone confident walking in your garments, and looking relaxed and comfortable. It’s amazing.
R: Have you always done fashion design and what inspired you to pursue it?
M: I’ve always designed clothes. I remember as a little girl looking at Princess Diana and drawing pretty dresses I wanted her to wear. I’ve had to work hard to get to where I am as my parents couldn’t afford to buy me a new sewing machine. Eventually, I started to do my own sewing Besides, they always taught me to stand on my own two feet. I sewed mainly for friends and myself, finally venturing into hand-made clutches with elaborate beading. Then I decided to take a leap of faith in myself and focus on garments. I’ll always remember entering my first show.
R: If you could sum up your design aesthetic in 3 words, what would they be?
M: Feminine. Elegant. Dreamy.
See Megan Cannings Designs at FASHFEST in the closing show, 9pm on Saturday 30th September.
Tickets are available at www.fashfest.com.au, from $49.