Tammy Honey has always been a creative soul. With diverse interests from fashion to film, her career journey has been far from linear. At a time when many in our community are facing an uncertain future or perhaps contemplating a sea change, we asked Tammy to share her journey with us and some of the amazing experiences she has had along the way.
We met through your store Coco and Frida, based down in Queenscliff. Can you share the story behind the store and what motivated you to start it in the first place?
After moving to Queenscliff, I found there really weren't any shops nearby that stocked conscious designers, or took the time and care to style their customers. Soon I had people wanting me to share my talent and flair with them. So, Coco and Frida was born and grew very quickly, with a huge following of women who would travel a great distance for my collection of designers and my ability to style them. I knew the importance of empowering women through how they presented themselves. Plus I realised that the great gift I could give them was the power of knowledge and open people’s eyes to care where their clothes came from and who was making them.
It must have been a hard decision to close the doors to Coco and Frida. What were some of the key things you learnt during that time, about the fashion industry and running a business?
Some of the wonderful things I learnt from Coco and Frida was that people will follow you if you deliver a personal experience, and people are happy not to follow mass production and fast fashion. I also realised that I needed to spread the word about sustainability through my first love which is film. I want more people to understand the need to care as a society, not to blame or pass the buck on with "it’s not my problem". We are like raindrops which can turn into a flowing river of change.
At Coco and Frida you focused on supporting brands that were doing things for the better. Have you always been passionate about sustainable fashion? What were some of the things you loved to see brands doing in this space?
My passion for sustainable fashion has always been strong but after creating Coco and Frida it became even stronger. I was very lucky to have had people in my life who were able to create beautiful clothes and I now have daughters that I have passed this gift to.
What I loved seeing with different designers was their ability to show how beautiful women are. Another thing I loved to see were designers who were transparent with their practice, which I believe is very important because it removes ego and capitalism. It also shows which designers and brands are creating a healthy and sustainable future. Finally, I loved to see designers moving away from mass production and becoming more conscious of the environmental effects that the fashion industry has on our world.
Not only were you running a fashion store, but you were also involved in producing films. How did you end up in the world of film?
I started as a fine artist, creating works in traditional medias such as painting but realised while doing my BA in Fine Arts that I had to move into film to achieve the type of work I wanted to create. Before this, I have been involved in theatre and stage through set design and costumes, makeup and hairstyling, so it wasn't a huge leap into the unknown.
After leaving university I cut my teeth working for two productions as an editor, and also working in administration at a film school. This was a great gateway into the film world and from this, I was able to carve out my pathway. I'm so grateful I was able to follow my passion and have a very diverse career in film, including being a video artist where my work was shown at the Tate Modern, being a lecturer and also running my film company.
Your films have already taken you to some pretty wonderful places. What has been the highlight so far?
I have a few highlights. One has to be just getting to work with the most amazing team to create our films. Another has to be the recent experience of taking our feature film to the Cannes Film Festival last year. I was so lucky to wear Lois Hazel everyday at Cannes which was so special to me.
You have been working on quite an exciting project lately, the Geelong International Film Festival (GIFF). Could you tell us a little bit about it? What inspired you to take on this new venture?
After spending time at Cannes, I could see a need for a film festival in Geelong as Cannes reminded me of Geelong with how it hugged the coastline and was not a capital city but had the ability to create an amazing event that people flocked to. Geelong is embracing change with the growing art, food and wine industry, which I saw as a cue for me to start a film festival which celebrates vibrant, thought-provoking, challenging, and entertaining subject matter.
What has it been like putting together a Film Festival during COVID-19? What have been some of the changes you have had to make to accommodate the world we live in right now?
It’s been a lot of hard work and we had to change how the festival was to be delivered because of COVID-19. But we were very quick to adapt and adopt a 100% online delivery during the early stages of the lockdown; we’ve developed a fantastic program to support both filmmakers and audiences at home. Where other festivals stalled and played follow-the-leader, we quickly took charge and led through innovation. COVID-19 has allowed us to show our audience what an amazing festival GIFF is and what wonderful filmmakers we have in our collection.
What are some of the exciting things about GIFF that you can share?
We are very excited about GIFF20 and what it has been able to achieve. Showcasing a diverse range of stories from various regions, GIFF20 will launch later this month and include an online awards ceremony, a live stream of VJ entertainment, and two retrospectives of important international practitioners, not to mention the many films that will be available on demand which engage in political, social, and environmental narratives driven by the desire to hold a mirror to our times and reflect the world in lockdown.
Some of the films have been made in lockdown and address COVID-19, mental health, immigration, and racism. With several world and Australian premieres, this year's festival program speaks louder than words.
How can people get involved?
It’s a great opportunity for people to experience GIFF20 all from the comfort of your living room. You can find out more HERE
Shop Tammy's favourite pieces from Scrunch.