Perth Fashion Festival creditors sign on again

Perth Fashion Festival Pty Ltd director Mariella Harvey-Hanrahan. Picture: Andrew Ritchie
Perth Fashion Festival Pty Ltd director Mariella Harvey-Hanrahan. Picture: Andrew Ritchie

STYLISTS and suppliers still owed money by the company that ran Perth Fashion Festival for 20 years are signing on again with the promise of a reinvigorated fashion showpiece.

Fashion Council WA, which owns the event, will run the festival in-house this year, flagging significant changes to WA’s premier fashion event.

The Perth Fashion Festival had been managed by Perth Fashion Festival Pty Ltd for 20 years until it ran into difficulties paying contractors after the 2018 shows. Perth

Fashion Festival Pty Ltd directors engaged Sentinel earlier this year to manage the remuneration of unpaid creditors from last year’s event.

Creditors are due to meet directors to discuss repayment options and the future of the company at a meeting this week.

Perth Fashion Festival Pty Ltd director Mariella Harvey-Hanrahan

Perth Fashion Festival Pty Ltd director Mariella Harvey-Hanrahan was also on the board of Fashion Council WA, which evolved from Perth Fashion Concepts, which she set up 11 years ago.

It has now been revealed she has left the Fashion Council WA board but remains involved by reviving the PFF Advisory Board that mentors young, up and coming designers.

Non-executive director of 10 years Kate O’Hara also did not renominate for her position on the Fashion Council WA board.

Ms O’Hara said she had been working in Melbourne for the past year and couldn’t be a “present” board director, so decided not to nominate for another term.

Fashion Council WA chief executive Steve Ayles said the vacant board positions were an opportunity to refresh the not-for-profit group as well as this year’s festival, which will be held from September 5 to 14.

Mr Ayles, who became chief executive six months ago, said Fashion Council WA would run all the events this year engaging contractors along the way. He said the decision to bring the festival in-house was partly because of suppliers not being paid last year and the new format meant that would not happen again.

“We’ve been really pleased with the response from creditors because we’ve gone back to them as a different organisation and they want to be involved,” Mr Ayles said.

“We have great empathy for them.”

Ms Harvey-Hanrahan said the advisory board would soon announce a chair, while she would take a board director role driving innovation and fresh insights.

“We’ll also be talking to the retailers about what they need and make sure they get a better reach,” Ms Harvey-Hanrahan said.

Ms Harvey-Hanrahan said that in 20 years she had never failed to pay anyone.

“Sometimes it takes longer but not paying them is not an option for me,” she said.

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