Last Saturday evening, I attended Brisbane’s newest Fashion Festival – Futures Unthreaded. When organiser, Nikita Bedwell invited me to attend the event, I was immediately intrigued. I mean, it’s not every day that you go to a fashion show in a gaol, right? One of Australia’s most notorious gaols in fact - Boggo Road. (I should probably mention here that it is no longer operating as a prison, alas I am not that brave. However, it is open to the public for tours and has a fantastic market every Sunday morning.) Having done the tour myself, I can say first hand, that the gaol has a fascinating history and architecture, which makes for a very unique venue. When I learned that all funds raised from Futures Unthreaded would be donated to support those who face mental health challenges, the irony of the location was not lost on me.
There was another big fashion event in Brisbane that same evening and there was talk amongst Brisbane’s fashion bloggers as to why it would be held on the same night? As it turns out, last Saturday was also World Mental Health Day, which is testament to the authenticity of the event and to Nikita herself. Speaking of Nikita, did I mention that she is 18 years old? Impressed? I believe “blown away” is the more appropriate term. Futures Unthreaded was created and produced by Nikita through a TAFE Queensland internship with RFQ. The philosophy behind the event was not only to shine a spotlight on the next generation of fashion designers, but to also promote a sustainable and psychologically healthy fashion industry.
There were four amazing showcases on display, including Amber-Courtney Le Label, Elira, Alexandra Fashion Boutique and Calache. The designers themselves range between the ages of 18 and 20 and their talent is undeniable. When Amber Courtney Le Label‘s White Wanderlust Collection emerged from the prison walls, I was a little bit gobsmacked. Imagine an ethereal, white being silhouetted against high brick walls and barbed wire. I don’t know if it was the design, the music, the venue or a combination of all three, but there was something hauntingly beautiful about it.
The models themselves also reflected inclusivity and health: a cross dress model, transgender model, curvy models and models that have been challenged by mental illness. Which one? Who knows? I guess that is the thing with mental illness, it doesn’t discriminate, but society often does. This is why events like Futures Unthreaded and people like Nikita Bedwell, are so important in the fashion industry and the broader community in general. I congratulate Nikita and everyone involved with Futures Unthreaded on its originality, beauty, creativity and purpose.