The Innovators: Fashion Design Studio Showcased 7 Exciting Emerging Designers at MBFWA To Keep Your Eye On

This year at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia, "The Innovators: Fashion Design Studio" displayed the works of seven graduate students in a show that definitely gave us a reason to have confidence in the future of the Australian fashion industry. This year, the show featured Amelia Akle, Ann Xiao, Casea, Johanna Smith and Richard Giang, Handsy Swimwear and EWOL. All photos by Jess Brohier.

With over 120 years of educating fashion industry professionals, the Fashion Design Studio (FDS) is recognised as a leading fashion design education Institute. Graduates of the school include leading Australian and international designers such as Dion Lee and Zimmerman.

This year at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia, “The Innovators: Fashion Design Studio” displayed the works of seven graduate students in a show that definitely gave us a reason to have confidence in the future of the Australian fashion industry.

Read through as we break down the collections of the selected seven:

  • A.N.X by Ann Xiao
    I can relate to Ann Xiao‘s start-up as she found the right career path. Learning to stray away from the pressures of Asian parents who want us forge in the direction of the traditional career path of being a doctor, lawyer, accountant, etc, Xiao left an Economics degree to apply to FDS in secret. And this week, she was one of the lucky few chosen to present her debut collection to some of Australia’s influential people in the fashion industry. Designing for both men and women, A.N.X was full of layering, graffiti and innovative streetwear-inspired pieces.
  • YOHANA by Johanna Smith
    Johanna Smith was formerly a teacher in an isolated Aboriginal community in NSW. Today, she’s a fashion design graduate of FDS and yesterday, her collection was infused with muddy hues and bold colour contrasts of contemporary Aboriginal artworks by Bugai Whyoulter and Jakayu Biljabu in cotton canvas and shirts with textural leather accents.
  • RICHARD JIANG
    Emerging Australian designer RICHARD JIANG gave us a collection that was feminine, trans-seasonal, diverse, and wearable; a combination that’s hard to come by these days. His designs incorporated unique elements and textural fabrications that allowed him to create interesting aesthetic garments which empowered the female form.
  • EWOL

    It would have been nearly impossible to not talk about EWOL‘s collection at all. EWOL‘s collection was vibrant, fun, creative, colourful and had everyone talking. The label blurs the boundaries of streetwear and high fashion to create wearable art worn by risk-takers, those who relish stares and double takes. Would you dare to wear one of their creations?
  • HANDSY SWIMWEAR
    Swimwear. There aren’t too many creative boundaries you can push with swimwear, in my opinion. But the HANDSY SWIMWEAR label found a way by incorporating laser cut panels of leather sewn onto mesh and 3D printed body moulds, which created underlining tones of sexual promiscuity and empowerment.
  • AKLE by Ameilia Akle
    As a previous intern with Australian label Zimmerman, Ameilia Akle gauged a specific interest in exceptional garment finishes and the importance of the perfect fit and cut of garments which showed in her collection at Australian Fashion Week. AKLE‘s collection was a combination of modernity and a rebellion against traditional femininity, embracing a classic feminine aesthetic with a modern spin.
  •  CASEA by Cassie Hewitt
    CASEA was launched by young Australian fashion designer Cassie Hewitt whom has previously interned for some of Australia’s best including Manning Cartel, Bianca Spender, and Carla Zampatti. CASEA incorporated pieces with vibrant prints, intricate embellishments and luxurious fabrics against a bold and rich colour palette.

All photos captured by Jess Brohier for The 5 to 9 Life.