The Townsville Fashion Festival has proven its value to the North’s fashion community since its launch in 2012.
In just six years, the event has turned out its fair share of success stories and given North Queensland’s emerging designers opportunities that were simply unheard of for the generations of would-be local designers that came before them.
Some of those successes include Pip Earl of PipSilk being tasked with designing scarves for the Port of Townsville’s Cruise Ship Uniforms, Peta Cripps of Peta C Dressmaking designing the corporate uniforms for the North Queensland Cowboys, and State Ministers Leeanne Enoch and Kate Jones wearing pieces by Tyler Giudes Designs in Parliament.
It’s an impressive track record and one that has young designers clamouring to clinch a spot on the Festival’s catwalk in hopes of progressing their own label to a profitable business, while maintaining their own unique take on fashion.
One such designer is Townsville Fashion Festival first-timer Morgan Allan of Immokalee Designs, whose work will debut on the catwalk this year.
Morgan’s pieces are a beautiful blend of Western bohemian and floaty coastal vibes, which she says are inspired by her own lifestyle in Townsville and, more recently, Cairns.
“Originally, I began Immokalee Designs as rodeo shirts, so it was very western-inspired, one-off items that people couldn’t get [elsewhere] and they were custom, which was something nice,” said Morgan.
“When I started the apparel line I really drew inspiration from the Western Bohemian world. I wanted to keep it a little bit country, but also my lifestyle is very eclectic – little bits of bohemian and also western, but then the beach, a little bit of skating, a mix of everything – I suppose just a lifestyle that incorporates all of these together. So I set out to design something you could wear at a rodeo event at night time with boots, but also barefoot to the beach.”
Morgan will show six looks at the Townsville Fashion Festival, which will then be available exclusively through her own online store. While she hopes the Festival will help raise Immokalee’s profile, Morgan is also eager to educate fashion-lovers about the benefits of handmade, small-run collections.
“Behind Immokalee, is the ethos of coming back down from this massproduced clothing industry that we’re in – fast fashion and all of that. It’s more about homegrown, handmade, keeping it Australian-made and in Australia. I want to promote that, I feel like we’ve come so far from that and people feel like handmade is not good quality, but I want to show that handmade can be good quality.”
Morgan said she’d seen a shift toward handmade fashions in recent years.
“There’s a lot of little designers that are popping up everywhere, especially in southern coastal Queensland – they all just have this amazing vibe and good feel to them because it’s not mass-produced and that’s a beautiful thing. You can get these vintage or custom-looking pieces and you’re supporting handmade.”
It’s a movement that is slowly making its way North, thanks to passionate designers and supportive buyers.
“I think Cairns has a beautiful opportunity [for local designers] and I think there’s a need for it now and people are really enjoying the fact that they can get something that’s quite unique and locally produced,” Morgan said.
“I’m just so stoked to be a part of Townsville Fashion Festival, and I hope one day we can get something like this in Cairns. I am looking forward to putting an event on in Cairns. I think for North Queensland it’s just so amazing to get all of these local talented designers together and it’s only going to get bigger and better.”