When Cyclone Debbie devastated Megan Cannings' north Queensland home in March of this year, the hardest part was the loss of her scissors.
Megan, a talented fashion designer who failed home economics in high school and "can't read a pattern to save myself", remembers finding a drawer full of water-damaged scissors and feeling "just totally at a loss".
Cyclone Debbie ripped the roof of her small miner's cottage near Prosperine, in the Whitsundays, ruining thousands of dollars worth of fabric and soaking the unique dress and skirt patterns she had created from scratch.
"All my dummies got thrown but most devastating of all were my scissors - any dressmaker out there knows how much we spend on scissors and we don't just have one pair, we have lots," Megan said.
"It took me a few days to even get into the house after the cyclone hit - the verandah had caved in and I couldn't even see the front door - but when I did I was just sorting through everything going 'Really? Is this really happening?'"
After several weeks of clean-up, Megan made the courageous decision to move to Sydney to continue working on a brand new collection she had promised both the Brisbane Mercedes-Benz Fashion Festival in August and Canberra's Fashfest in late September.
Megan is one of more than 40 designers showcasing collections at Fashfest this year, in a line-up that also includes New Zealand's Trelise Cooper and new independent labels De Challie Haute Couture, Gabrielle Spencer Bridal, Gehrich and Thunder Thighs.
Though she started sewing in the sixth grade under the direction of her aunty Pauline, she's not your "typical fashion designer" Megan said.
"I'm not tech savvy at all, I can't even read a pattern, I failed home economics and I did do a couple of sewing courses but I just don't understand it all," she said.
"I know that sounds really stupid - but that's why the loss of the patterns I'd made myself was so devastating."
Megan described her as yet untitled collection for Fashfest as "feminine and floaty" and said it would feature dresses, rompers, tops, chiffon kimonos and gowns. While she started out with a Spring-inspired palette before the cyclone, she has now moved to black lace with highlights of pale pink.
"The cyclone was awful but moving to Sydney is all about opportunity - I want to find a manufacturer here, get some pattern-making done and I'm closer to a whole lot of fabric wholesalers," she said.
"It's my second year at Fashfest and I can't wait to come back to Canberra.
"I just got such a great reception with my collection last year and the team is so professional - the whole creative process including hair and makeup is fantastic."
Fashfest co-founder Andrea Hutchinson said young emerging talent would be in the spotlight at Fashfest this year, with Canberra designer Ashleigh Bujaroski launching her Summer Paradise Seekers label.
Fashion design students from the Canberra Institute of Technology will put on not one, but two, full collections at Fashfest.
Fashfest 2017, September 28-30, National Convention Centre. Tickets from $49. Discounts available for two show packages and bookings of six tickets. More info and tickets at fashfest.com.au