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Passion for fashion

Ellen Whippy-Knight In Sydney
Tuesday, May 01, 2012

As we descend upon the historic Rocks area of downtown Sydney, we are witnessing the set up of Australia's premier Fashion event, Mercedes Benz Australian Fashion Week (MAFW).

Lana Smith is very excited with her first international fashion event as photographers line up for registration and model photo shoots are live and volunteers are being briefed while the tinkering of builders makes up a hectic background.

We are here to meet Jarrad Clark the main man who will make MAFW happen.

Beginning at back of house role as an 18-year old dresser of models, Jarrad as he is known has steadily ascended every stitch of the corporate fashion ladder to become global director of production for all fashion weeks owned and managed by International Management Group (IMG).

No small feat in the world of event production. It would have been just enough to be employed by the most prestigious event management company in the world the highly regarded IMG.

IMG owns and manages New York, Milan, Berlin, Singapore and Australian Fashion Week.

As the overall event director for Mercedes Australian Fashion Week, Jarrad's main role is to oversee the execution of events to ensure they provide participation options to showcase designers, holistically and that sponsors and partners are activating in a relative way.

As a wide eyed 18-year old, Jarrad began his career in the world of high fashion in Australia working back of house at fashion shows helping to dress models before they exited onto the catwalk.

Jarrad was soon producing full fledge fashion shows by the age of 23, working for Simon Lock the Australian Fashion Week guru who began this event 16 years ago at the then Hordern Pavillion in Sydney.

With an innate desire and drive to carve a career out of the fashion industry, Jarrad travelled to the mecca of the fashion world Milan and teamed up with none other than Marco Maccpani Missoni , a child of the Missoni fashion empire.

"Marco taught me how to do fashion shows on a world class standard," he said.

"I have worked with him as his assistant and produced shows for Prada, Gucci and Versace."

Jarrad has just recently produced shows for the eccentric and eclectic doyenne of the British Fashion Field Vivienne Westwood in London and Zac Puson in New York.

His next show will be Berlin Fashion Week, however he is also involved with Project Runway Australia and many related fashion events.

Back in Sydney overseeing the set up and final touches to this, Jarrad explains the objective of MAFW is to provide a platform for designers to connect with retailers, media and consumers.

There will be 65 designers showcasing at MAFW 2012 and hundreds of models, crew, staff members and volunteers to see the show through.

There will be a special emphasis on the great new talent on the runway showing for the first time.

Highlights are the return of great Australian legends such as Jenny Kee after 31 years and Akira Isogawa who has been showing in Paris for the last 14 years.

Oroton, the luxury Australian accessories and handbag brand will also be showcasing its first garment collection.

Jarrad's advice to designers is to enter Fashion Week for the right reasons, one must have obviously a passion for fashion, creativity and a sense of eccentricity to be able to think outside of the box.

The business of fashion only starts when the show finishes. Then begins the hard yards.

It is up to the designer to work out what to do with their range, they have to keep the momentum, get their product out there onto people's backs.

A great fashion show producer, he adds, has patience, creativity and a passion for making others' dreams a reality, sharing and executing their vision within a given budget.

"My best show is always the next one!"

While Jarrad has a huge week ahead of him, he is really looking forward to this task.

"There is a positive energy going on here."

And with a twinkle in his eye, the lithe ball of energy that makes up Jarrad Clark is whisked away by the calls of his event management team.

Local designers, Lana Smith and Moira Solvalu are also participating in the MAFW.

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