National Designer Award Finalists Announced

For the 22nd year, the Festival is proud to announce the final five designers in the running to win one of Australia’s most prestigious fashion awards, National Designer Award presented by David Jones and supported by Harper’s BAZAAR on March 1, 2018.

After receiving more than double the amount of applications compared to 2017 and the most menswear designer applications in history, the five finalists all in their first five years of business have been acknowledged for showing excellence in areas such as creative design, sustainability, manufacturing standards and fashion innovation.



Chris Ran Lin

Based in Melbourne, the emerging label is becoming known for its innovative menswear, knitwear and accessories. Creating fantasy for menswear is the core idea of Lin’s creations, and his affection and persistence for wool and yarn has always supported his journey of exploration in menswear fashion.

Lin graduated from RMIT University (Melbourne, Australia) with Master of Fashion Design in 2015. His inspiration comes from architecture, object texture, and experimental research on technology and craft. Being one of the most outstanding fashion students in RMIT, Lin’s unique style and bold menswear collections made him finalist for the Festival's own National Graduate Showcase and iD Dunedin Fashion Week in New Zealand in 2012.

In 2013, Lin launched his menswear label Chris Ran Lin in Melbourne. His experiments in knitted garments are brave and highly exploratory. Collaboration between old-school tailoring technique and traditional craftsmanship is the signature handwriting in Lin's design. 

Chris Ran Lin will also feature on GQ Australia Menswear Runway on March 9.





Born and raised in Melbourne, Brian Huynh is the founder and Creative Director of MNDATORY. Whilst studying Optometry at the University of Melbourne, Brian realised his true vocation lied in creativity, fashion and design. Brian went on to complete a Bachelor of Design, Majoring in Fashion at the Whitehouse Institute of Design (Melbourne campus). During this time, Brian also worked in menswear tailoring for 7 years; gaining a greater understanding of fit, whilst enhancing his practical skills in cutting and pattern-making. Upon graduating, Brian worked in styling at prominent runway events, most notably for MYER and Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia.

The independent Australian designer menswear brand, is inspired by the design philosophies of architect Louis Kahn, our aim is to build on wardrobe fundamentals through a transformative design approach. Specialising in men’s outerwear and tailoring, MNDATORY releases two RTW collections per year, alongside a perennial made-to-measure tailoring service for its Melbourne customer base. Merging contemporary ideas with classic silhouettes, MNDATORY offers an alternative perspective on menswear for the self-taught, well-versed innovator.





A rebellious romantic, AMXANDER is an Australian elevated menswear label by Jason Alexander Pang and Rong Chen. With features in GQ, ELLE, Vogue China, and Harper’s BAZAAR, the label was also recently named as a menswear label to watch by key industry publication, wear magazine. In 2016, AMXANDER made their runway debut on the Festival's own Garage Runway. Following this, AMXANDER was nominated for the international woolmark prize 17/18. AMXANDER also featured on the Festival's own GQ Australia Menswear Runway in 2017.

A ravenous fiend for disassembly and re-creation, the label focuses on the reconfiguration of definitive uniforms from different eras, cultures, and occupations. With prints at its heart, each collection continues to explore the intricacies of symbolism through different creative mediums.





Pip Edwards (P.E) Pip is a long standing fashion veteran having worked in PR and Design for ksubi, as a stylist with DLM and Senior Creative and Accessories Designer at Sass & Bide. This is where her working and creative relationship, and friendship, with co-founder, Claire Tregoning, was cemented. 

Claire Tregoning (C.T) Claire, also has a fixture in the fashion industry, studied fashion and textile design. Post graduation she moved to London to work in the design team at TopShop. After 2 years, she embarked on a solo journey and launched Maise which lead her to her appointment as Senior Designer at Sass & Bide – as the Denim and Knitwear specialist. 

The sexy, sporty and energetic activewear label, highlights their distinct tomboy styling and retro flavour. Inspired by 90s street, think colour on colour, denim on denim, all day, every day.

P.E NATION will also feature on GQ Australia Menswear Runway on March 9 and the Runway 6 presented by Who What Wear on March 10.





Together; Merryn Kelly's values, design signature and recognitions are today epitomised in THIRD FORM. After completing her studies at Sydney Tafe Fashion Design Studio and working in design roles for prominent Australian fashion labels; Zimmermann, Shakuhachi and Lee Jeans.

Since it’s inception, THIRD FORM has been worn by IT-girls Margaret Zhang, FIGTNY, Nadia Fairfax and Vanessa Hong. Labelled ‘cult following’ by VOGUE Australia and a ‘New Face of Australian Fashion’ by

Through 2016 and 2017, Merryn’s strong vision and business nous caught the eye of the top industry judging panels and achieved outstanding accolades. Becoming a finalist for our National Designer Award in 2017, as well as entry into the 'money-cant'-buy' 2016 Project Next Gen for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia, and more recently membership into Australian Fashion Chamber (AFC).

The contemporary womenswear label offers a feminine, refined edge look for the busy urban lifestyle. Inspired by successful women that travel and work the big cities of the world, THIRD FORM offers minimalist inspired designs with considered urban detailing and cuts that elevate the female form. 

THIRD FORM will also feature on Runway 7 presented by Grazia on March 10.




The National Designer Award winner will be announced March 1, and officially kicks off the 2018 Festival. 

Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival 
March 1 -18, 2018
See full program here 


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