While many Canberrans are stashing their swimsuits in the back of their wardrobes for the winter, swimwear will be leading the way on the catwalk at this year's Fashfest.
A different collection of swimsuits will open each evening of the event, representing this year's four themes of visionary, scientist, artist and philosopher.
The decision to use swimwear came about after positive feedback from Sydney swimwear label ?Baku, which featured at Fashfest 2013, and Fashfest producer Steve Wright said it was the perfect ?idea to introduce ?themes.
"Last year we used footage from the National Film and Sound Archives – this year we thought we'd add an extra element to everything," he said.
With no swimwear labels in Canberra, Wright set about to produce a range of swimsuits exclusively for the festival, commissioning four Canberra visual artists to create the designs.
"For us the initial project was very much about creating a bit of theatre for the catwalk," he said.
"We want to show off every creative industry we have in the city and adding visual designers was the logical next step."
Eleanor Gates-Stuart, one of the artists commissioned for the "scientist" theme, has used her artist residency at the CSIRO to direct her designs, drawing inspiration from insects.
"I don't have a fashion background at all," she said. "I was thinking about bugs and how I would be able to incorporate this. I took my designs and they've turned out abstract but beautiful."
Currently a PhD researcher at ANU, Gates-Stuart's recent work includes covering Questacon in bugs for the Enlighten 2013 Festival.
She said she enjoyed the challenge of applying her art to a new canvas.
"For me, I apply my creativity around the imagery, but to have a completely new surface or a model to work with is great," she said.
"I think if you've got all this creativity, you may as well use it."
To bring the swimsuits to life, Fashfest engaged digital print company JETS Digital Group, which will print the fabric, and British designer Shelley Campton, now a Canberra local, who will collaborate with Wright to design the final pieces.
About 40 bespoke swimsuits will be created, ? and Wright said depending on demand, the garments may be available to the public.
"If there are enough people keen, the garments are ready to go into commercial production," he said.
Fashfest is on April 30-May 3. For tickets visit fashfest.com.au.