The first big event happens on Saturday, 21st February with 3 ticketed (two hour) catwalk shows and an after party, all to be held at the Ballarat Mechanics Institute, 117 Sturt Street, Ballarat. Thereafter, there's a range of events planned, culminating in a flash-mob performance in Melbourne CBD, involving 75 circus performers and acrobats joining the 26 models for a choreographed public event on Sunday, 15th March.
Niki hopes this whole team effort may become an annual 'art meets fashion' festival extravaganza bridging that relatively short physical and cultural commute between the regional city of Ballarat and the metropolis that is Melbourne.
Polly Prov's interest in the whole series of events was sparked partly by the ambition involved, but also the ethos that sits behind the idea of Collidescope. How did all of this come to be, and what's it all about?
About a week later she went back in and said "Erin, I've got this crazy idea! What if we got artists to design fabric and designers to design garments, have an exhibition here and a catwalk parade in the center of Ballarat?" Erin thought it was a great idea. So, we were just laughing and being silly. Then, within a week we were linked into the Virgin cultural fashion program."
Niki's pitch to the fashion hoy-polloy, and people with influence, at a major fashion cocktail event late last year ran something like this: "Have you been looking at what's on the European catwalks these past two years? They have prints of the great painters like Mondrian and Picasso on the garments, but they're all old news and already famous. We should be putting the work of our youth up there - All the artists that are happening now!" Niki's observation was swiftly noted. She barely had time to put that Champagne glass down, before the whole crazy thing took on a momentum of its own and transformed into something very real.
"We started thinking about the budget and what we would need. I was calling artists and designers. I was hoping there would be some cheap local options for printing their images on fabric, and we could do a lot of screen printing, and Casey Tosh is painting his work directly onto the fabric, so I thought it would be OK. It would be alright. But it didn't work out that way! Most artists wanted to go digital.
So, then we had this massive budget to work out, and thankfully we got a grant from the City of Ballarat in December, and the project really started to attract attention. We did some crowd funding work, and now we have 3 major sponsors on board. The garments are all being made this week, and the interest has been growing rapidly, so hopefully that translates into lots of people at the event.
We have a national dignatory launching the event, a Miss Universe entrant as our ambassador, VIPs from Melbourne and senior representatives from Arts Victoria and the Arts Council Of Australia coming."
But with Niki's extraordinary energy, drive and commitment, we'll hazard a guess that she and her talented team of collaborators will make it to that catwalk and beyond with more than just bells on - "It will be quite theatrical" she says. "And very well choreographed!"
More on the detail and background story in the next post, but for now, Polly Prov is just keen to get the word out there and help this amazing range of local creators, makers and doers live their dream, and make a startling success of the big event on 21st February!
Tickets are available online at http://www.collidescope.org or 'instore' @ Rings on her Fingers, 10 Doveton Street, Ballarat or @ 323 Hair, 323 Mair Street, Ballarat. $15 Child or Concession/$25 adults/ $20 After Party.