BT Emerging Fashion Designer Award 2019 entries now open

2 min read

Entries have officially opened for the 2019 BT Emerging Fashion Designer Award. The prestigious award aims to identify and showcase Australia’s most promising emerging fashion designers and provide support in the form of financial means, access to services and mentoring.

The initiative was first established in 2013 and has since become one of Australia’s most esteemed designer awards. It has fostered the success of a number of Australian designers, as they develop from emerging labels into household names, including; Albus Lumen (2018), Kacey Devlin (2017), macgraw (2016), Emma Mulholland (2015), Michael Lo Sordo (2014) and Christopher Esber (2013).

Reflecting on her 2018 win, Marina Afonina said being a part of the BT Emerging Fashion Designer Award has been a surreal and flattering experience. As an emerging designer within the Australian Fashion Industry sometimes it is difficult to make the right business decisions, having advice from experts within the field has provided perspective and a new understanding of growing my brand. I am extremely grateful for the guidance and support from BT Financial Group.

The 2019 total prize value has grown to $100,000, which will afford the winning designer the opportunity to push their label to the next level. In addition, the award criteria now includes an essential focus on applicants’ sustainable and ethical practices within their business.

Entries for the award are open from now until Tuesday 30 October 2018. An expert panel of industry judges will then select three finalists, to be announced on Wednesday 5 December 2018. The panel includes;

  • Edwina McCann, Editor-in-Chief of Vogue Australia, Vogue Living, GQ Australia and Australian Fashion Council Co-Chair (Head Judge)
  • Bianca Spender, Founder & Designer of Bianca Spender
  • Melissa Singer, Fashion Editor of The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age
  • Jaana Quaintance-James, Head of Sustainability and Ethical Sourcing for THE ICONIC
  • Rebecca Lim, Group Executive, Compliance, Legal & Secretariat for Westpac Group

The three finalists will go on to present their collections at the BT Runway event on Thursday 11 April 2019, alongside some of Australia’s top established designers.

Jane Watts, General Manager BT Advice and Private Wealth said the BT Emerging Fashion Designer Award is gaining momentum each year and seeing the career trajectory of previous winners has cemented the award as a leading platform for Australian designers to take their business to the next level.

“We are proud to offer the BT Emerging Fashion Designer Award for the seventh consecutive year and we hope to see more ‘next generation’ designers applying for the 2019 award,” said Ms Watts.

The Prize

  • A $10,000 cash grant and two years of financial planning services provided by BT Financial Group
  • Accounting and business advisory services for two years provided by Bentleys NSW
  • Legal advice provided by Gilbert + Tobin for two years
  • Vogue Australia to produce and style a designer look book
  • label.m Australia in conjunction with TONI&GUY Australia will provide;
    • Access to their National Artistic Team for two major fashion events
    • Two look books or editorial shoots
    • A year’s worth of hairdressing at TONI&GUY Australia HQ
    • A year’s worth of label.m hair styling products
  • Linda Jefferyes makeup for the Vogue look book
  • Two return business class flights to London
  • A one year subscription with new media content business, Flaunter
  • Two mentoring sessions with two fashion industry icons provided by the Australian Fashion Council
  • Photo production and video content of the winning collection at the BT Runway event
  • A keepsake engraved trophy


The Awards are open to womenswear and unisex designers. Applicants must have produced a minimum of three seasonal collections, have traded in business for under seven years and have an annual sales turnover of less than $2 million. Applications will be judged upon their design, styling and fit capabilities, business acumen and potential for commercial success, their demonstration of sustainable and ethical practices, their marketing and social media skills, and the entrant’s planned use of the prize of the BT Emerging Fashion Designer Award.

Application forms and further conditions of entry are available at the BT Runway website.

About | BT Financial Group

BT Financial Group has been helping Australians prepare for the best since 1969. Today BT Financial Group helps thousands of customers find superannuation, investment and insurance solutions to suit their personal needs and goals. They’re also a specialist in financial advice. BT Financial Group is the wealth management arm of the Westpac Group.

The BT Emerging Fashion Designer Award has been an important initiative for BT Financial Group, providing a platform to support emerging talent to reach their full potential by investing in and mentoring the growth of Australian designers.

BT Financial Group are delighted to continue their partnership with the Australian Fashion Council, as an organisation that promotes the growth of Australian design talent and the strengthening of the Australian fashion economy on a local and global scale.

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About | Australian Fashion Council

The Australian Fashion Council (AFC) is a non-profit membership organisation with over 65 years of service to the industry. The AFC exists to promote the growth of the textile & fashion industry in Australia.

Members are drawn from across the fashion & textile industry value chain, and range from micro to large companies, education, state and national industry associations and students.

AFC activities and projects act to support five focus areas; strengthening supply chains, fostering design & innovation, promoting ethical practice, supporting emerging business and building Australian export.

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For more information and media requests, please contact,

Bradley Waters

Project Manager
Australian Fashion Council

M: 0400 386 509


Lisa Parrett

Media Relations Manager
BT Financial Group

M: 0432 933 796