It’s always exciting to find new up and coming designers and this year’s St George Next Gen Show proved that the future of fashion in Australia is in good hands. Designers like Anna Quan, Camilla and Marc , Kate Sylvester, Gorman, sass and bide and Akira have all benefitted from this program which has helped to discover and launch careers since 1996. Next Gen shows are an important platform to discover and support emerging Australian Fashion Designers. This year four talented Australians- Madison Hislop, Benjamin Garg, Chloe Mottau and Mndatory showcased their looks to an eager and excited crowd on the last day of scheduled shows.
Madison Hislop is a textiles led designer heavily influenced by materials and their emotional nature and it was the beautiful fabrics I noticed first in Madison’s show. Her palette of black grey and white blended tailored shapes with floaty skirts creating timeless looks. Lemon and blue also wowed.
Ethereal knitwear, high necklines and uneven rough hems were a signature of Madison’s work. I loved the dresses which reminded me of theatre masks with white on one side and a darker asymmetrical printed fabric on the other side. A very flattering collection full of her luxury fabrics and prints.
Benjamin Garg offers an eponymous label that showcases a unique approach to colour, layering and silhouette paying homage to the traditional artistic impressions found in India. The collection shown was from Ben’s Master’s Graduate Collection- Doria. Colour was key in this collection with yellow, orange, apricot and lilac all taking centre stage. The collection was developed from local Indian cloth traditions, grounding joyous expressions to connect people with cultural elements through hand loom ‘ Kota Doria’. Over twenty metres of fabric were used in each skirt to create voluminous, playful pleated propositions, generating layers of lightweight fabric that formed pleated shapes around the wearer. I particularly noticed the large statement earrings and eye catching headwear accompanying the pieces.
Chloe, who is based in Sydney, was one of the featured young designers at MBFW and a lovely photgraphic montage of her designs made a bright addition to the Carriageworks walls. Chloe showed us the nautical tones of navy, red and white. There was tulle, knits, crochet and a range of unusual shapes on her catwalk. Chloe specialises in loom woven and hand knitwear. Slow, ethical and natural are the best words to describe Chloe’s work. Chloe designs for textile oriented, Eco conscious and nostalgic dreamers. Highlights were the lilac and cream knit tank dress with tailored wool undies and an ethereal silk/ tulle skirt, her range of unique hand knitted tops and pants and the floaty tulle dresses. The work and artisanal elements in this collection were stunning.
Arguably the most well known of the four was Melbourne’s Mndatory, an independent Australian designer menswear brand which showed off the superb tailoring off Brian Hunh. Inspired by the design philosophies of architect Louis Kahn, the label’s aim is to build on wardrobe fundamentals through a transformative design process. Mndatory releases two collections per year, as well as having a loyal Melbourne customer following for their made- to- measure tailoring process. Mndatory combines classic silhouettes with an alternative perspective. Having sons I loved this innovative menswear with it’s nod to Brit pop, Unisex styles and strong sense of fabric and silhouette.
There were classic trench coats and printed fun shirts, alongside singlets, vests, cool printed long line coats and classic pants. A very covetable menswear collection.
To win a place in the Next Gen show can be an important stepping stone for an Australian designer. Each of these gifted individuals connect with an experienced panel of industry insiders , the program mentors Australian talent to help them hone a whole range of skills and helps elevate their profile through industry connections and ongoing business support. I look forward to following the upward trajectories of each of these talented Next Gen designers.
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