Fashion

The Greek force behind the birth of Tasmania’s Fashion Festival


The end of September will see Hobart become a fashion capital, as Tasmania prepares to launch its first ever fashion festival.

From 30 September to 1 October 2022, the idyllic Sandy Bay will transform by hosting an event that celebrates the entire journey of fashion on the Apple Isle connecting it with the rest of the world.

The Tasmanian Fashion Festival (TFF) will be an opportunity for established and emerging businesses to showcase and promote their Tasmanian owned, designed and produced collections to a captivated audience able to trace from where and how the fibres are produced, through to the final garments that are created.

“Through this event we endeavour to create opportunities, growth, and education to those within the fashion and retail sector,” co-founder Vicky Sanos told Neos Kosmos. “We want to build a friendly and welcoming community, providing employment and volunteering opportunities which seeks to involve members from across the state.

“[We want] To host an annual Fashion Festival in the state of Tasmania that benefits the entire state. The event will connect the Tasmanian Fashion Industry and provide educational opportunities around the importance of sustainability, diversity, inclusion, and transparency.”

Sanos stresses that even though it’s early days, the goal is to establish an environment that shows respect to individuals, their human rights and privacy, eliminating all kinds and forms of discrimination, whether based on religion, belief, race, ethnicity, nationality, gender , or physical disability from the very beginning.

Hobart born Sanos, who started her career as a fashion designer back in the 1980s has come a long way since. Her trajectory was one of many detours, all of them offering a new breadth of experiences, but her connection to fashion was in a way karmic, engrained in her DNA.

Vicky Sanos. Photo: Supplied

THE JOURNEY FROM HOBART TO AUSTRALIA AND BACK

“My parents are from the Dodecanese islands, Greece and migrated to Australia in 1950’s where they got married in Launceston Tasmania and made Hobart, their home. My father was a merchant sailor and always immaculately dressed in Italian Bespoke tailored suits of fine wool made by tailors in Melbourne and Hobart. He was well-travelled in the Norther and West Africa, Western Europe regions, Bombay and the Middle East. My mother was a tailor, she achieved her qualification in the island of Patmos, Greece, back then a qualification was to receive a German made tailor’s scissors which I still have. Although my mother was the skilled tailor, my father had an eye for fashion and exquisite fabrics and he always made sure my mother and he were the best dressed couple at any occasion,” she explained.

Sanos herself, developed a passion for making clothes from the age of five, when her parents bought her her first sewing machine after she had raided her mother’s wardrobe and cut into her boucle suit fabrics creating dolls clothes with them in the shape of butterflies and lady bugs.

“My father’s mother taught me about how to spin yarn when I was eight years old. I love expressing myself through fabric, colour, texture and design. I am inspired by the fluidity, colours and textures of the ocean and the underwater world where I get a lot of my inspiration from. Growing up I was surrounded by family members who were passionate about fashion and design and I was influenced by two dear aunts who were both designers in Sydney and New York so I guess the love of fashion has been in my blood. I have always loved fashion, textiles and being creative with elegance, style and quality,” Vicky said as she remembered being inspired by nature as a child before moving to Brisbane, Queensland where her parents entered a business partnership.

The family returned to Hobart when she was in Year 12, and it was that return that kicked off her career as a fashion design student at Tas Tafe Hobart School of Fashion.

Photo: Tasmanian Fashion Festival/Supplied

“It was around that time that I learned the art of working with leather and fur at one of my first jobs with Cheetah Fur and Leather,” Sanos told Neos Kosmos.

“I met my mentor and menswear suit tailor, the late Michael Furjanic of Michael Tailor Menswear, one of Hobart’s leading menswear tailors at the time, who encouraged and inspired me to pursue my career as a fashion designer when I landed a job as a sample designer for one of Tasmania’s largest manufacturers at the time producing surf and sports clothing and manufacturer of the Loveable Lingerie label. By my 21st birthday I saw the potential to grow a fashion design business in Tasmania and I launched my own clothing label in Hobart, Evsanos Designs, which ranged from casual daywear, Tailored suits, bridal and evening wear.”

Interestingly, the restless Greek-Tasmanian enrolled for a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Journalism and Media Studies at Tasmania University back in 2002 which led her to locate to Sydney working as marketing manager for a Tabloid Wedding Magazine.

“I played a major part in developing the magazine as one of Australia’s first online wedding magazines,” she said.

Vicky’s extensive experience in the fashion industry includes teaching pattern making and clothing construction at the exclusive Whitehouse Institute of Design – where her students showcased their designs at Milan Fashion Week – and teaching at the prestigious Monash University.

“My career further developed in Sydney as a design consultant where I was blessed to work with Sydney fashion labels as production manager and product developer of high-end sleep wear and luxurious evening wear labels being manufactured and produced there,” she said.

Her own designs have also been exhibited at the National Museum in Canberra, when she designed a gown in honour of the 2004 Athens Olympics, and she was also commissioned by the Tasmanian Premier to design a gown inspired by Australian nature for an Australian Wool Innovation campaign for Japanese exports.

“Yes, it’s true. Not many know that I have designed a gown for the 2004 Athens Olympics! That was definitely a highlight of my career.”

Sanos’ journey was just beginning. In 2007 love led her to Melbourne where she moved and also relocated her design studio to develop my career in the fashion industry as a manager of some of Australia’s most successful fashion labels George Gross, Harry Who and Carla Zampatti . Her career later entered into fabric wholesaling and product development of bridal and evening wear fabrics and also as sales executive role with Neos Kosmos before returning to fashion design and production.

“At the time of the Pandemic my work transformed overnight on the digital platforms and the fashion industry was in lock-down in Melbourne and Sydney so I decided that being with family in Tasmania was a great idea. It has been one of the best decisions of my life,” Sanos said.

Getting ready for the bridal runway. Photo: Tasmanian Fashion Festival/Supplied

TASMANIAN FASHION FESTIVAL IS BORN

A few months after she returned to Tasmania from Melbourne, she was able to continue her work selling fabrics to designers around Australia who were still able to keep their business operating during the pandemic. Sales in Tasmania started to increase leading her to the realisation that the local fashion industry had not only grown but also had the potential of becoming an independent market.

“It then that I had the idea to start a Fashion Festival committee for Hobart and I had a lot of interest from designers and fashion businesses that I spoke with about the idea,” she told Neos Kosmos.

“Also, The TAFE School of Fashion showed a great amount of interest and supported my idea. I started to do some research and discovered Tanya Ellis, our President and brilliant fashion stylist. Tanya invited me to the Launceston Fashion Festival which I attended.

Ellis was already the organiser and founder of the Launceston Fashion Festival and from there her and Sanos came up with the idea to join the North and South of the state and form the first state fashion festival event.

“We both ‘birthed’ the TFF and formed our brilliant team which includes marketing professionals, graphic designers, fashion designers and teachers of Fashion and Design program at the Tasmanian School of Fashion of TAFE. I am very proud to be elected vice-president and co-founder of the TFF and to be holding the first ever state fashion festival.”

As a young fashion designer in Tasmania, Sanos always believed in the potential growth that the fashion industry of the state had, and during the eleven years that she had established her fashion design business in Tasmania she held fashion parades regularly to promote her label as well as other bespoke and retail designers in the state. She was also an active member on the Board of The Tasmanian Estia Greek Festival where she lead the Fashion parade and sponsors’ events for the committee.

Spring colour palette from emerging fashion designers. Photo: Supplied

“Each fashion parade also was part of a fundraiser event which is something I am still involved in as another way to support the community,” she said.

“I have always believed in the potential Tasmania’s fashion industry has to grow and I have seen how it has developed over the past ten years. I aim to help develop the community in attaining skills, technological skills and knowledge to create new jobs for the future and keep the Tasmania Fashion Industry alive and competitive. The TFF platform will help create awareness and give exposure to the fashion industry community in our state nationally and internationally and help attract more tourism and employment to keep our creative and skilled workforce in the state.” Two weeks before the launch, Sanos confesses that even though it has all worked out, getting there was not without challenges.

“There were moments we thought the obstacles were insurmountable.”

“We have formed as brand new organisation and we started with no funding during a global crisis. Sourcing funding and sponsorship during the pandemic has been challenging. The uncertainty of the situation was affecting the confidence in the community and the local and state governments. We have been thankful to be in a position to be able to successfully finance our event. The impact COVID-19 has also affected finding a venue that would be large enough to hold such an event comfortable and to also be adhering to the COVID-19 safe practices. We have been very thankful to have had The Federal Group be happy to hold our event at Wrest Point Casino in Hobart.”

At this stage TTF has over thirty exhibitors ranging from bespoke evening wear and bridal designers, sustainable fashion designers, menswear, retailers, vintage clothing and new and emerging designers taking part.

“Most of the labels exhibiting with us at the festival are up and coming. In fact we have included an Up and Coming Designer Award Competition to be held at the festival and the interest has been fantastic!”, Sanos enthused.

One of the garments to be showcased. Photo: Tasmanian Fashion Festival/Supplied

Thanks to her strong ties with Tasmania’s Greek Community, there has been even more interest from Hellenes living on The Island Off An Island to participate.

“We are proud to have a brand new menswear designer Alexandra Krambousanos launching her label, Thirty Four Dukes on our runway at the festival; This is very exciting.”

“From the Greek Community of Tasmania we have one of our sponsors, Elaia Café and Restaurant not to mention our major contributor, Anna’s Hair and Makeup. Anna, will be working hard behind the scenes.”

Excited to finally create a platform for her wider community to come together and showcase its creativity, Sanos is ready to prove that where there is will there is a way and her will is one of Olympic proportions.

Diversity is important. Plus size influence Katie Parrot will be there. Photo: Tasmania Fashion Festival/Supplied

When: 30 September – 1 0ctober 2022, 10.30am – 4.00pm

Where: Wrest Point Casino, 410 Sandy Bay Road, Sandy Bay, Tasmania

To find out more, visit: www.tasmanianfashionfestival.com.au

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