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South Australian Fashion Focus Weekend (SAFFW)

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by Tema (subscribe)
Write because you want to, not because you have to.
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An event that puts local fashion in the spotlight
Photographer: Matthew Kroker

If you're looking for something exciting to do next weekend, then may I please gather your attention towards The South Australian Fashion Focus Weekend (SAFFW) - a fashion-fuelled powerhouse of an event that will dedicate next weekend to the celebration of locally sourced designers from all around South Australia. Hosted by Ellery Events Australia, SAFFW aims to educate and entertain through their weekend events, in addition to introducing their ticketed guests with a myriad of designer brands and speaking opportunities from industry professionals. SAFFW has created itself to be a platform for local designers, artists, small business owners, and creatives to come together and help the local Adelaide fashion industry thrive in a welcoming environment.

In anticipation of the fashion event kicking off from November 22 - 24, 2019, I was fortunate enough to have a chat with SAFFW Creative Director Katelyn Ellery about the upcoming fashion-focused festival - have a read of our exchange below:

Tema: Can you tell us a bit about yourself, Katelyn?
Katelyn: Hello! I'm the owner and founder of Ellery Events Australia, a South Australian Fashion Events business that is renowned in our community for the Creative Lifestyle Markets that run monthly at Plant 4 Bowden, the Social Network Gatherings for local industry networking, and our new Marina Markets by the beach. We're super excited to have started the South Australian Fashion Focus Weekend which is happening this November that supports emerging SA designers over a weekend of events.

Tema: You seem to be wearing a lot of hats that would easily classify you as a real 'boss lady' - would you like to talk a bit about your business Ellery Events Australia?
Katelyn: Ellery Events Australia naturally grew in our city because there was a gap in the market scene for everyday people who LOVE fashion! My first ever market started in a community church hall after huge interest was drummed up over the Facebook group that I started - Labels Buy Swap Sell - and over the years, it became the Creative Lifestyle Markets that has now found its home at Plant 4 in Bowden. Over the years, we've been able to grow EEA because there's a huge community out there of people who are passionate about supporting Adelaide and local businesses.

Tema: What is the story of SAFFW?
Katelyn: It's a funny one! I was sitting at the playground with my son at school and my phone started blowing up! When the Adelaide Fashion Festival was cancelled, the fashion community knew that we needed a new event was for our emerging designers and EEA was the first thing that came to their minds. It's always been a dream of mine to run a large-scale fashion event and everything fell into place when I knew I had to take this opportunity and run with it. It's so important to me that our community has an inclusive and accessible platform to celebrate fashion, while also shaking up the status quo a little bit. SA Fashion Focus Weekend then became that place to create opportunities for local businesses and designers to be seen and recognized for their amazing work.

Photographer: Matthew Kroker

Tema: How did the concept become a reality? How long have you been planning this event for?
Katelyn: It's always been a goal to grow EEA into a large fashion platform, so from day one at that playground, I've been hustling with my team to pull everything together. We started planning in August, and with the event being a week away, we're so excited to now have a weekend of events where everyone is invited to be involved in something big for our state.

Tema: What made you create this brand new fashion-based festival in our city?
Katelyn: With the sad loss of AFF, we needed to provide a platform to keep our talent on homegrown soil. There are so many TAFE SA designers and students who see leaving Adelaide as the only way they can find their break into the industry, and being passionate about growing the culture of our city, we knew SAFFW was the event to make everyone know that you can come from humble beginnings and grow into something huge - right here in Adelaide!

Tema: Who is your target audience for the event(s)?
Katelyn: It's not just industry professionals or people who work directly in fashion, it's everyday people who want to have an amazing weekend out supporting local and being a little bit glamorous while they're doing it. We've already seen huge interests from fashion students, stylists, mothers who love style, fashion bloggers, neighbours, and people who want to support their friends who have started labels! What we've found is that you can't buy community, and our community really cares about supporting one another.

Tema: Can you give us a snapshot of designers who will be participating in SAFFW?
Katelyn: Sure can - we have some of the biggest designers in Adelaide like Couture Love Madness, Loveday Collection, Valente The Label, Dark Thorn Clothing, Georgy Collection, House of Campbell and Miko and Mollie, alongside impressive emerging designers like Romp Squad, mifufu!, Ebony Laura, Shador, Siaban, NoRuYeLo, and No Cream. We have such a wide variety of designers that is being tied together into one show, which has never been done before here in SA!

Tema: How did you reach the decision of who to include in SAFFW?
Katelyn: Being so involved in Adelaide's fashion scene, I've been paying attention to these amazing designers' work and their growth in the industry for so long now that I had to reach out and invite them. They've all been so proactive in collaborating, putting their brands out there and wanting to be seen, that when SAFFW came together, these brands were the obvious inclusions for our runway.

Photographer: Matthew Kroker

Tema: Can you give us a brief rundown of each event?
Katelyn: So, we have three events coming up:

The Next-Gen Industry Mixer - a social networking event tying in emerging designers and boutiques with a strong focus on industry hints and tips from some of the biggest professionals in Adelaide.
Fashion In The Port Runway - a multi-label runway production focusing on a wide variety of fashion categories from SA emerging designers to international couture brands.
Creative Lifestyle Market - a bustling environment of people who love the market atmosphere at Plant 4 where they can shop local businesses including homewares, fashion, art, jewellery, and more, where they can interact with like-minded people and support local. Our designer showcase will also run at 12pm on the day.

Tema: What are you hoping for people to experience by attending events listed as part of SAFFW?
Katelyn: I want them to feel like they are acknowledged as vital parts of our fashion and arts community. I want them to know that they can support and celebrate our amazing city in an innovative and inclusive environment; one that's a revolutionary movement for championing local fashion. By attending the events, guests will experience education, insights, fashion, and innovation - all that comes with an atmosphere of electric excitement among like-minded people.

Tema: Who are the key individuals involved in the production and creation of SAFFW?
Katelyn: We have myself - the Creative Director, Emma Dignon - who handles our PR and Marketing, and Cristina Tridente - our key advisor for all things in the fashion industry.

Tema: What can people anticipate from attending the events listed as part of SAFFW?
Katelyn: It will be a huge weekend where people can anticipate to be inspired with high energy and excitement. A powerful vibe (which usually keeps me on a high for three-days after!) where everyone will walk away feeling inspired, informed, and like they're a part of a movement that's bigger than themselves. I also hope people make new friends, customers, and contacts because of it!

Photographer: Matthew Kroker

Tema: In a nutshell, why should people support SAFFW?
Katelyn: It's all about local. It's about supporting our state and the people in it. To keep the fashion industry growing, thriving, and becoming a huge area of economic growth for our state and the people in it. People truly care about supporting Adelaide and this is the event to rally together and show their support by showing up.

Tema: Why do you think it's important to support the Adelaide fashion industry?
Katelyn: I think it's important because these people are everyday locals with a dream. They are our sisters, brothers, and families, who are daring to do something different by following fashion and making it big. It is so important because these designers are amazing enough to be doing this as their full-time gig, but especially for our emerging designers, we need to give them the platform to showcase their designs and labels so that they can make that income and follow their dreams! We want being a full-time fashion designer to be achievable in Adelaide.

Photographer: Matthew Kroker

Tema: What is your vision for the inaugural weekend event?
Katelyn: My vision is a flowing three-day festival, which really highlights every aspect of fashion in our state. Hitting on industry education and networking for our Friday evening event, to a really extravagant and innovative fashion runway production in the up-and-coming Port Adelaide area, to then a relaxing, fun, and breezy Sunday at Plant 4 - there is something for everyone to love and join in on for the weekend of glittering events.

Tema: How are you feeling now that SAFFW is less than 2 weeks away?
Katelyn: I'm excited, but with a belly full of butterflies! I'm super determined to work harder and harder to make this event everything that Adelaide needs right now and everything that I've ever envisioned for our creative community. I have such a high drive for executing this to my (high) standards and ensuring our designers are showcased in every way that they deserve to be.

Tema: Is there anything else that you'd like us to know about SAFFW?
Katelyn: We hope that, over time, SAFFW is going to grow bigger and bigger! For our first year, we're focusing on our amazing weekend of events - but we have long-term plans for this to become the biggest fashion event in Adelaide… perhaps even Australia! I'm passionate about providing opportunities and a platform for people in our beautiful city to grow and flourish. I will always be here to support local, and I really hope that if you're reading this, you jump onto our website and purchase your tickets, as they are the best way to show your support for what we're doing and be in on the ground floor of an event that's going to grow from strength to strength and be the no. 1 platform for creatives to thrive in our state.

Official website

Social media
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Book tickets
Next-Gen Industry Mixer
Nov 22nd 2019 || 6.30pm–10.00pm ||
Lucky's Beach Club, Morphettville Racecourse
Fashion in the Port
Nov 23rd 2019 || 6.30pm–10.00pm ||
The Flour Shed, Port Adelaide
Creative Lifestyle Market
Nov 24th 2019 || 9.00am–3.00pm ||
Plant 4 Bowden

With thanks to Oh Hello PR for the interview opportunity.
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Why? If you love supporting local and love the fashion scene, this is an event that you do not want to miss!
When: November 22 - 24, 2019
Where: Morphettville Racecourse, Port Adelaide, Plant 4 Bowden
Cost: $$
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