Sustainability at the centre of BT Emerging Fashion Designer Award

3 min read

Emma Mulholland, Albus Lumen and Macgraw – three power players who have developed from emerging labels into household names, as well as former winners of BT’s Emerging Fashion Designer Award.

The award, first established in 2013 and in partnership with the Australian Fashion Council, aimed to identify emerging designers, providing them with financial support and mentoring. To this day, BT is proud to foster and encourage new talent, helping fashion’s rising stars prepare for their financial future. 

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Out of over 50 applications received, Courtney Holm of A.BCH, Minhee Jo of Aaizel and Blair Archibald of Blair Archibald, impressed the judging panel of industry elites to secure their place in the top three.

Each with a focus on ethical fashion, this year’s application criteria considered sustainability an essential addition in ensuring applicants were looking at how their business operates, and in turn, how it might impact the world around them too.

Australian Fashion Council CEO David Giles-Kaye, said “The high calibre of entries this year highlights the strength of our emerging talent in Australia and the growing commitment towards conscious fashion. The AFC congratulates the chosen finalists for 2019, Aaizél, A.BCH and Blair Archibald, who have each demonstrated a focus on creating cutting edge design and building sustainable business foundations.”

BT’s General Manager, Private Wealth, Jane Watts also said: “Now, in its seventh year, we are extremely proud of the contribution the BT Emerging Fashion Designer Award had made to the next generation of designers. This year’s entries were of an exceptional standard and the finalists showcase the unique and diverse talent of Australia’s fashion industry. We look forward to presenting the Award in April 2019 and helping another emerging designer take their business to the next level of success.”

The three finalists will present their collections alongside some of Australia’s most successful designers at the BT Runway event on 11 April 2019. Of the three finalists, one designer will be announced the winner on the night and will receive a prize valued at over $100,000.


Courtney Holm, A.BCH

A.BCH is an independent fashion label founded on hyper transparency and Whole Garment Design. Creating considered fashion and lifestyle pieces for global, conscious citizens, A.BCH is making responsible fashion desirable while removing many of the barriers customers face when seeking out healthier alternatives.

With the aim to see genuine change for good within the fashion industry, every piece put into the world is created with intent - from responsibly sourced fibres, threads and components, ethical supply chains and focus on the user phases to finally end of life. A.BCH is pioneering with circularity at the design level as Australia’s first fully circular label. A.BCH founder Courtney Holm is one of the leading voices in transparency and circularity in fashion.

Minhee Jo, Aaizél

A label synonymous with effortless, tough femininity and dishevelled elegance, Aaizél has constructed and elevated everyday essentials in Australian sourced fabrics for the progressive girl with a poetic spirit. With everything being designed and produced in Melbourne, Aaizél pieces have a timeless and seasonless approach that cater to both hemispheres.

Aaizél has a unique approach to fashion, converging the influences of romantic and detailed European Art and traditional East Asian clothing construction. With a strong focus on structured silhouettes and undone styling, sharpened with a contemporary edge, the Aaizél girl is nomadic in her knowledge, while grounded in structure.

Blair Archibald, Blair Archibald

A contemporary label that investigates the relationship between soft tailoring, sports and workwear. The focus is on practicality, adaptability and maintaining a coherent narrative through the collections.

The brand is best known for two key design components. The first is engineering garments with longevity and sustainability through a minimalist aesthetic, using local production partners and highly considered fabrics. The second is an approach to design that reconfigures gender conventions by cutting silhouettes that are accessible to both men and women and softening the rigidity of commercial menswear silhouettes in Australia. This became the main precedent for starting the label as the designer dealt with gender identity issues and as a result, the integration of soft tailoring mixed with linear pattern making is a reflection of blurring those gender parameters in the work.


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