Sunday, June 10, 2012

Fiend Festival Review

Fiend Festival ran yesterday, and it was big! The Festival was a large event, and run by the team behind Fiend Magazine.

This was quite an ambitious event, and fairly large. With the demise of Under The Blue Moon, the concept of the large alt festival, covering various aspects of the alt community and subculture, has not been apparent. Fillin the gap, The Fiend Festival is the largest alt event run in Melbourne.

Attempts at running an alt festival, not just including bands, but art, fashion and culture have been made before (The Circa Nocturna/Carnivale Nocturna two day event in 2008 and the DV8 Bizarre Music Festival featured an event with bands, fashion and markets).
However, The Fiend Festival is probably the first alt festival in Melbourne to cover a number of aspects well, with a significant Fashion parade, a large market of 50 stalls, a big line up of bands including overseas acts, and a reasonable art exhibition (though probably a tad small in the context of the venue).

The Venue was Revolt Art Space at Kensington, an old factory with an amazing feel (I spoke to the artist in residence who does some of the interior deco, - he is a blacksmith who does Movie props and who was trained by the main armourer for Lord of the Rings!). It is a big venue, and has an amazing rustic Victorian feel to it.

The Markets were quite amazing. In the context of alt markets..this is as big as you get. The Black Market has been running for some years on personal property, this is the first time it has gone commercial. 50 stalls is as big as you will get (I think the record was 70 in the past), and there was some very interesting stuff. Lots of clothing, nick nacks, actually not much second hand, a lot of things made by local designers. The designers that were in the fashion show were grouped together, which was good. Kudos to the organiser, Tarley.

Carpe Noctum was pretty amazing, and will be the big alt fashion event for the year. It featured 10 designers, and some big names, including some interstaters and many designers who have been in Circa Nocturna and other shows. It ran for about 2 and a half hours, and was separated into three sections, which was great. Layout was effective, with a long runway and the seating was not deep so everyone got to see. A great opportunity to see some of Australia's best alt fashion designers, and one of the few oppotunities for alt designers to get their work up on the catwalk, unless they are prepared to pay the *enormous* amount of money that the main festivals charge. Brilliant job by the organiser, Susan Illingsworth. (Be on the lookout for my separate review for CN soon).

I'm no art critic....but the Art Exhibition was pretty good. It was effective in that they had a range of artists represented working with different media in different styles, and really just a taste of each. The work was generally pretty sophisticated, and wasn't bogged down in too much subcultural dwelling on the macabre or the predictable. Some great talent, I would have liked for it to be bigger, but given the venue size and the context of the event, it was probably proportional to what else was going on. Was right next to the market and the bar, so you could wander in with a drink and have a look.

Unfortunately, I didn't see the bands (including Hocico (Mex), Hanzel und Gretyl (NYC) andShiv-R (Syd) amongst others), so I can only review the other three aspects.

Overall, Fiend Festival was really a one of a kind event, and a great nexus for many creative people to have their performance seen, and for people to go along and see what a variety of creative output from the alt community, in an amazing venue. Well done to Gerry and his team for taking it on, and we hope to see another one next year.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

World Goth Day (Again)

As well as writing this blog ( I like writing) I also nick on to Wikipedia and write articles about subculture on there. I just did this on World Goth Day, and spoke to Martin OldGoth (my buddy Rachael suggested I speak to him) who was one of the two founders. He was awfully nice, despite still recovering from Wave Gothic Treffen, and answered a few questions for me.

Anyways, I thought I would replicate it here. You can read it on Wikipedia as well:

May 22 is World Goth Day [1] The Official World Goth Day site defines it as "a day where the goth scene gets to celebrate its own being, and an opportunity to make its presence known to the rest of the world" [2]
World Goth Day originated in the UK in 2009. BBC Radio 6 was looking at a number of music subcultures. Goth DJs Cruel Britannia and Martin OldGoth got an event up and running. It was decided that May 22 would be the day when this event would be held regularly. [3]
The tradition continued and spread outside the UK, with a website being initiated to coordinate and advertise events worldwide.[4]
World Goth Day celebrates the sub cultural aspects of the Goth subculture. Aspects of the culture like fashion, music and art are celebrated by fashion shows, art exhibitions and music performance. Many of the events feature local Goth bands, and some have taken on a charity aspect with events in the UK and Australia supporting favoured charities like the UK Sophie Lancaster Foundation, a charity that tries to curb prejudice and hatred against subcultures. [5]
The event has evolved to be now celebrated by goths all around the world, including the UK, the US, Australia, Singapore abd South Africa.

Alt Labels in the "Launch Your Label" Competition

I noticed this new competition for fashion designers being discussed on Facebook, and thought I would have a look at the designers running in it. Quite a few are alt designers.
Launch Your Label Australia 

One Wear Designs are currently running this has the noble  aim of giving a leg up to new designers. Winners get $12k and some promotional opportunities. Thought it interesting, in that although its a general competition, there are quite a few alternative designers in the running. Also, interestingly, it is aimed at Fashion design labels, but they include Jewellery designers in the mix as well (some people, when they speak of Fashion labels, will be referring strictly to garments, but jewellery peeps are welcome). There is one bag designer as well.

Anyway, having a quick glance at the current people in the running, I noticed some very talented alt fashion designers.

  • Licorice and Cream (new alt Victorian designer)
  • Dolly Q (Exquisite Victorian alternative, corseteer and wedding couture, and alt fashion catwalk veteran).
  • LeLash (interesting alt fash Sydney designer, will be in Carpe Noctum next week)
  • Matt Bylett (Latex designer from Sydney, has been on the catwalk at Circa Nocturna and in Sydney shows and does some amazing and fantastic work - probably Australia's foremost Latex designer)
  • Lonely 8 Bit heroes (who may be alt fashion designers, depends on your definition).
  • Jack and Lou (Historical influenced, so possibly a bit of subcultural cross over once again, not sure if the designers themselves would describe their work as alt fashion).
  • Tentacle Threads (some great alt designs, and also a veteran of Circa Nocturna. Currently they are doing the best with the votes at 212).
  • Rebecca Cobbing (From Sydney, did CN last year)
So not sure what this says about alt fashion designers popping up in mainstreamey competitions - but I think it is good! Quite possibly it is an indicator that the alt design world is maturing, getting professional, and taking the fight to where it needs to go. Definitely a way to raise a profile. It's a good thing, and I wish them the best of luck.

So....if you like alt fashion designers, go onto the site and vote for your favourite!