Marina Afonina, of label Albus Lumen, became the sixth winner of the BT Emerging Fashion Designer Award in 2018.
A jetset brand, meaning ‘white light’ in Latin, Albus Lumen boasts timeless collections of effortless and understated pieces. While Marina was innovative and business-minded prior to her win, she has since overcome the challenge of rapid growth and demand with knowledgeable guidance and expert advice.
“As each day goes by, Albus Lumen increases its activity,” Marina says. “I don’t find much time for ‘pinch me’ moments, although, when reflecting on the year, I appreciate the overwhelming support and opportunities presented to Albus Lumen.”
The BT Emerging Fashion Designer Award has been a milestone for Albus Lumen, winning favour with both buyers and critics at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia in May. Her resort 2019 collection, Pablo/Paloma, had the likes of Net-a-Porter Fashion Director, Lisa Aiken, and MatchesFashion.com’s Buying Director, Natalie Kingham, singing her praises. Across the globe, the Australian Fashion Designer was also selected to compete in the 2018/19 International Woolmark Prize global final in London next year, with her 80 per cent Merino wool collection impressing an expert panel of judges.
Challenges in 2017
Prior to her win, Marina was challenged by an overwhelming demand for products and rapid growth that ensued. Supported by BT Senior Adviser, Louise Rottier, who provided professional insight into financial management, Marina believes she has overcome her “teething problems”.
“Being granted the BT Emerging Designer Award has provided Albus Lumen with professional insight into financial management,” she adds. “In winning, we have been guided by experts in what to prioritise and how to maintain a steady cash flow within the business.
“Having knowledgeable guidance from experts has allowed the company to establish pragmatic goals in which will be sustainable for Albus Lumen’s success.”
Victory in 2018
Marina made the most of the opportunities that the award brings. “The competition has highlighted the importance of time and what is realistically achievable,” she says. “I have learnt that evaluating certain decisions and coordinating details according to time, may grant outcomes that would not have originally accounted for.”
Tips for BT Emerging Fashion Designer Award participants
To all aspiring designers, Marina believes the following will help you stand out when entering the BT Emerging Fashion Designer Award:
- Establish a distinct and unique aesthetic
- Create more than just a brand, consider your customer and their lifestyle
- Take advantage of travel and the resources around you.
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