Jacinta Richmond loves discovering new talent, which is exactly what she has been doing for the past decade as director of the Sunshine Coast International Fashion Festival, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year.

“I love to discover new talent and often know there is talent and potential before others do, including those designers themselves,” said Jacinta. Her instincts and passion have guided her from the event’s simple beginnings as a high summer fashion parade to its current evolution: a festival recognised for discovering emerging talent and providing opportunities for networking with national and internationally established brands.

In anticipation of the festival opening on 21 October, various lead-up events in the preceding months will include a Bloggers VIP event in August, and a model showcase for those hoping to break into the industry, who can attend an open casting as agents look to discover new talent.

The Sunshine Coast Fashion Festival event itself takes place over just one day, introducing attendees to more than 20 labels and brands including Nicole Finetti, Sunflair from Germany, NVK Daydoll from Milan, Myer, and a host of other regional, national and international names. Guests can purchase items at wholesale prices straight off of the catwalk in the Trade Lounge, or educate themselves through industry Q&A sessions. To commemorate the last 10 years, a coffee table book will also be launched.

This year Charles Anthony Hall is the 2017 Model Ambassador – one of the only, if not the first time in Australia a male model has been the face of a fashion event. “His professionalism, his mannerisms, and his joy in supporting others and love for the event are just a few of the reasons why he is the perfect fit,” said Jacinta.

Jacinta’s main goal is the stepping stone the festival can provide to those with fashion ambitions, whether as models, designers or those behind the scenes.

Breaking into the industry not only requires hard work, opportunity and money, but knowledge of the industry and its etiquette that might trip up newcomers. The SCFF’s mentorship program aims to combat that, offering fresh faces an education that will help them succeed.“With such an industry deep in designers and new talent, there is no room for unprofessionalism. Hopefully our support early in the label lifespan will help them take the next necessary steps,” said Jacinta.

One of her favourite success stories is Hive Swimwear, one of the two brands that first asked her to throw a runway show all those years ago. Now, the label is being stocked in Australia, the United States and Europe; a testament to how hard work, dedication, talent, focus and listening to advice can propel a brand. “This year is my proudest moment. Part of the journey has been the success of designers, models and the SCFF team who started out with the event and I’ve seen many go on to great things,” said Jacinta.

Open to both the industry and public, the 10th Sunshine Coast International Fashion Festival will be held at The Events Centre, Caloundra, offering an exciting, packed 24 hours of fashion and style. Applications to show and tickets are now available.