Jesinta Campbell is no stranger to life both on and around glamorous runways – the David Jones ambassador and former model knows her way around a FROW like a veteran. We spoke to her on the first full day of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia about the cameras, the nerves, the street style pressure, her favourite designers showing and and why this year’s switch to Resort collections suits us all so well.

1. This is obviously not your first fashion week but it is everyone’s first Australian ‘Resort’ fashion week. How do you expect the shows and the clothes to be different? Australian designers just do Resort so well. Swimmers, relaxed holiday wear, sexy little dresses, activewear – the all epitomise our culture and climate and I can’t wait to see the best of Resort hitting the runways this week.  I think it is so great for the industry that the shift to a Resort MBFWA will mean our designers get to showcase their incredible Resort collections in line with the overseas buying cycles. It also means the return of some of my favourite designers to the schedule who usually won’t show at Australian Fashion Week but rather the international circuit.

2. Who are some of those favourite designers? I am most excited about Dion Lee. He is such a talent and making big waves internationally. My wardrobe is full of his designs and I’m looking forward to seeing his Resort collection on the runway. Other designers I’m looking forward to seeing are Bec and Bridge, TOME and Karla Spetic.

Jesinta Campbell at Carriageworks for MBFWA 2015
Image: courtesy David Jones

3. These days there as many cameras and posturing outside the shows as on the runway, and an extra level of scrutiny on guests. What’s your take on that? It doesn’t really bother me. Some people are known to just loiter outside to have their photo taken and not even attend the shows. For me, fashion week is about supporting our amazing local talent and celebrating Aussie designers.

4. Talk us through your process of getting Front Row (FROW) ready. I’ll have all my fittings the weekend before. I like to wear and support the designers whose shows I am attending. My stylist and I go to the showrooms a week prior and make a selection of the things we love, then we work through all the outfits in a fitting. You can be a little bit more experimental during Fashion Week. It’s all about self expression and just being confident in what you’re wearing. I love that you can be a little different and not play it safe there. I am always so inspired by the fashion and could sit and watch everyone coming and going for hours. I love seeing all of the unique interpretations of the trends.

Jesinta Campbell front row with Zoe Kravitz and Kylie Jenner at Vera Wang AW17 show at New York Fashion Week
Image Credit: Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images

5. As a FROW veteran (recently seen at NYFW), what are your best tips for first timers? Fashion week can be really intimidating, there are so many people and photographers around before the shows that you can feel really overwhelmed. Always remember though, fashion week isn’t about you, it’s about showing up to support the Designer and celebrate their hard work and latest collections.

6. What are your handbag essentials? Lipstick for touch ups, something to snack on (sometimes the shows run up to an hour over time), your iPhone to capture Snapchats or Instagrams of all the shows and best looks, and some Band-Aids for blister emergencies.

7. You’ve walked in several David Jones shows now. Given your experience of stepping on to the runway, how do you think today’s models will be feeling pre-show? I always get a rush of adrenaline before stepping on the runway – it’s the best feeling. Usually a designer will write a little brief for the models that will paint a picture of a character that they want the models to embody on the catwalk. It might be “You’re sexy, strong and powerful” or “Relax, have fun, be you.” It’s a big week for a model, sometimes they can walk in several shows a day and by the end of the week they are totally exhausted. Getting your hair and make-up done then taken off and done again several times a day can cause havoc with your skin. Some girls have to be on set super early and won’t finish until late at night, so looking after yourself through fashion week is paramount. Drinking lots of water, eating super healthy and in the lead up lots of time at the gym so you’re feeling you’re best when you’re on the runway.

Campbell fronting the opening show for the Melbourne Fashion Festival 2016 in March
Credit: Graham Denham/Getty Images

8. Australian designers are renown for their Resort Collections, partly due to our carefree, outdoor lifestyle. Who do you think, brand-wise, is really making an impact internationally? When I was in New York, women would recognise the Australian designers I was wearing whilst I was there. Camilla and Marc, Dion Lee and Ellery seem to be the most spotted. I’ll never forget, I was wearing a long line black Camilla and Marc trench with gold bottoms all down the front in New York City. A lady on the street came up to me and said “OMG, that’s the new Camilla and Marc Trench, I’m obsessed with their clothes.” That made me so proud. Aussie designers being noticed overseas is amazing for the industry here.

9. There is a real shift to fitness-focused fashion and lifestyle-related fashion now and Thursday’s shows dedicated purely to athleisure and swim styles. How do you feel now that swimsuits and fitness are so closely connected? I think it’s really excited and gives the people who attend the shows something different to look forward to. There’s a big shift with workout wear becoming a lot more fashion forward so I’m looking forward to seeing the different brands own interpretations of that. I’m also looking forward to seeing more healthy and fit models on the runway.

10. Which brands of swimwear and activewear being shown this week do you love the most? To me, swimwear and activewear is such a big part of our Aussie culture. I also feel like a lot of fashion designers are also including swimwear into their ranges. I’m really looking forward to seeing the Bec and Bridge swim pieces and also P.E Nation’s new activewear.

Want a #MBFWA-worthy wardrobe? Shop Jesinta’s Fashion Week edit HERE.