Looking back at Meraki; Catching up with Bianca Pavlic and Maryanne Irhia
On the 24th of March, Meraki was launched for the first time. Created by local clothing designer Bianca Pavlic and food and fashion extraordinaire Maryanne Irhia, Meraki is a fashion show inspired by their mutual love for fashion and a wish to bring Canberra something new. Meraki means to do something with love, creativity and soul and the show was the essence of this.
Starting at 1pm, locals filed into the Fitters Workshop to be wowed by the flower wall, a nail bar, live music, food and drinks. Four designers were featured in the show, including Bianca herself. The other new and upcoming designers were Ryan Fisher from Gerhardus Harmannus, Christina Phillips from Claudia the Label and Charlotte England from Venus Blooms which allowed the show to feature a range of styles. I caught up with Bianca and Maryanne to look back on the show and how it went.
Q: How would you describe the experience of putting Meraki together?
Maryanne: Its been everything. It’s been a whirlwind of emotions. I was really scared, but more excited . It’s been humbling and its crazy because we’ve gotten so much support.
Bianca: Yeah it’s felt like an emotional rollercoaster. It was interesting to see how many people in the Canberra community opened up and bonded and attached themselves to Meraki.
Maryanne: I think the name itself resonates with lots of people because it had so much meaning. Everyone came and supported it and said like ‘Oh we’re passionate, we’re creative, we want to get around it.’ We thought of Meraki in a day and that same day we launched the Instagram. Yeah, the experience has been crazy. It’s still going, we’re still experiencing stuff.
Q: What did you learn from this experience?
Bianca: That we can do anything we set our minds too.
Maryanne: It doesn’t matter what age you are, if you’re passionate about something you can do it. If you have a really good partner, that helps as well. We also learnt persistence and resilience.
Bianca: I guess real life experience, definitely. I’ve done heaps of study on how to run an event but I’ve never actually done one.
Maryanne: I’ve never created a proper website before so that as well. All of the aspects or marketing, how to read your target audience, communication, handling finances and how to use all of our talents and put them together. We did a lot of it ourselves which was really cool.
Q: Did the day go according to plan?
Bianca: When I woke up at 4AM and a model had quit, no.
Maryanne: Yeah! We had minor hiccups but to the untrained eye you couldn’t tell. We found replacements and like yeah some people were late but that was only in the lead up. Our original caterer pulled out so we found someone else, models pulled out so we found other people. Those were the main things.
Bianca: Overall it went smoothly.
Q: What was it like working with all of the artists on the day?
Bianca: I think the overall thing was stressful but working with the makeup artists, hairdressers and models was pretty easy.
Maryanne: I loved working with the models because I’m friends with a lot of them so it was such a good vibe.
Bianca: They all knew what they were doing, they understood our approach and where we were going so it wasn’t hard to deal with. Hair and makeup are such strong minded people they just know what they’re doing and know how to work on those situations because they’ve done it before, which made our jobs easier.
Maryanne: We really didn’t have to micromanage because people knew what they were doing which was good. The vendors were really great as well. Anna, the nail lady was brilliant.
Q: Why did you want the event to be ‘Instagrammable?’
Bianca: Our life is on Instagram. I run a business, Maryanne is a blogger, so a huge part of our lives is Instagram.
Maryanne: It’s how we connect with people and that’s just how you do things these days.
Bianca: It’s a good way to market things. The event itself was very photographable and Instagram is where all the pictures are.
Maryanne: Instagram is how it was born, it was launched on Instagram, our callouts were on Instagram. It’s also how we communicated with everyone so it just made sense.
Q: What was the most difficult part of putting the event together?
Bianca: Managing it with my own life and work.
Maryanne: Bianca works heaps, I work full time and we have our own separate things. She still has her business and I have all my food events, so making time for it.
Bianca: It was very time consuming and very mind consuming. I would be dreaming about it, it was envisioned in my head.
Maryanne: It was always on our minds, we did stuff for it everyday. We made sure we prioritised it and communicated everyday. Finding sponsorship was very difficult too.
Q: What was the highlight of putting the event together?
Maryanne: There was so many highlights! … At the end when we looked out at everyone, that was insane. Even seeing the lines at the beginning, that was insane too. It made it real.
Bianca: I was doing something and looked outside and there was literally a hundred people and they were all early!
Maryanne: They curled around the corner. I was greeting people at the door and met people who had been following us for ages and it was really nice. We see numbers online but you don’t realise they translate to real humans that care about you and support you. Really good vibes. Working with Bianca too, that was great.
Q: If you could change anything, what is it and how would you change it?
Maryanne: I have a list for little things, like not using plastic cups for drinks and food.
Bianca: Just the little things. Someone commented we should have more diversity in age in models so maybe that.
Maryanne: Someone else said we had everyone but someone in a wheel chair, so we could look into using models with a disability.
Q: What’s been the reaction on social media?
Maryanne: Like amazingly amazing. We’ve been overwhelmed. I think we’ve brought something really fresh and fun to Canberra so we’re excited.
Bianca: Everyone’s taken it really well and are supporting us and showing their love on social media.
Maryanne: They’ve been tagging us, hashtaging us, following us. We’ve had a thousand plus views on Meraki’s Instagram page.
Q: Now Meraki is over, what’s next?
Maryanne: Big question! Another show, we don’t know when. Stay tuned on our socials!