The Future of Fashion

The Festival is thrilled to announced today the 12 finalist student designers who will showcase their graduate collections in the National Graduate Showcase.

Previous National Graduate Showcase designers have gone on to work in the most famous design houses in the world  including Dior, Louis Vuitton and Versace, they’ve established their own labels, and they’ve dressed Academy Award winners, supermodels and even Lady Gaga.

Presented by Target, and supported by Fashion Journal, the National Graduate Showcase is a highlight of the Festival program offering an unrivaled launching pad for young designers and an opportunity for fashion lovers to witness the burgeoning and compelling talents soon to enter the industry.

The 12 designers chosen to show their graduation collections to over 1,500 consumers and industry leaders on Friday 9 March 2018 inside the storied Royal Exhibition Building are:


Lucie Martyr, University of Technology Sydney, NSW

Isabella Raco, Whitehouse Institute of Design, VIC

Lisa Liu, University of Technology Sydney, NSW

Lucy Dickinson, RMIT, VIC

Tess Tavener Hanks, University of Technology Sydney, NSW

Mikala Tavener Hanks, University of Technology Sydney, NSW

Rachael O’Brien, University of Technology Sydney, NSW

Rachel Louey, RMIT, VIC

Shaydn Gill, Whitehouse Institute of Design, VIC

Xiangqiao Sheng, RMIT, VIC

Yael Frischling, University of Technology Sydney, NSW

Madeleine Jost, RMIT, VIC

The 2018 National Graduate Showcase designers have different inspirations, motivations and muses, but together these 12 exciting talents embody the best of the future of fashion - including fierce femininity with an edge, innovative textile development, zero waste textiles, surprising textiles – from tinsel to discarded upholstery, respect for but subversion of classic design, the sustainable consumption of fashion, questions about the distinction between femininity and masculinity and reconceptualising archetypal garments, hundreds of hours of painstaking hand painting and embroidery, and a desire to use fashion design as a tool for activism and positive change.

It will be the first time in the nine-year history of the showcase that sisters - Tess Tavener Hanks and Mikala Tavener Hanks (both University of Technology Sydney) - will be showing at the same time.
They are quite different designers. Tess, an emerging innovative womenswear designer, uses a palette of bold, vibrant hues and is conceptually driven to change how we see synthetic materiality in contemporary culture, seeking to create cohesion between experimental textiles and wearable clothes. Mikala has a sensual, emotive aesthetic drawing inspiration from classic tailoring and traditional silhouettes. Her work pays homage to the past yet emphasizes its own unique modern aesthetic, reinterpreting and subverting the classics - the trench coat, tailored straight-cut pants and the knitted
cable jumper.

The 12 finalists, representing the University of Technology Sydney (NSW), RMIT (VIC) and Whitehouse Institute of Design (VIC), were carefully selected from more than 100 graduates from institutions across the country.

Graeme Lewsey, Festival CEO, said: “The National Graduate Showcase provides a platform and unprecedented support for young designers to kick start their career. This year, we have seen a new standard of creativity from designers who show a level of maturity and industry understanding far beyond their years. We are proud to be able to provide this unique initiative.”

Target Head of Corporate Affairs & Sustainability, Tracie Walker, said: “The retailer is committed to seeking and supporting young local designers through its association with the Festival’s National Graduate Showcase. At Target, we are thrilled to be involved in a program that mentors our next generation of designers on the road to success.”


Previous National Graduate Showcase designers include:
Nixi Killick (2013). Nixi dressed Lady Gaga for her 2014 ArtRAVE Tour campaign. Her label, NXK, is based in Brunswick and she was named among the ‘100 Independent Designers to Watch’ by London’s Not Just a Label.

Georgia Lazzaro (2010). Georgia’s label, Protagonist, is based in New York. She has been featured in VOGUE and Interview Magazine and has created garments for Academy Award-winning actor Anne Hathaway and supermodel Christy Turlington. Coveteur described Georgia as, “a very sweet, very talented Aussie designer, who, for four years worked at Calvin Klein, and who knows a thing or two about cutting a trouser that you want to wear every damn day”.

Sarah Schofield (2009 & 2017). Sarah is currently based in Paris as she and fellow Australian designer Agatha Kowalewski develop their label, ASSK. Sarah also has a small Melbourne-based couture bridal business - Sarah Schofield Couture – and has worked in design houses such as Dior, Louis Vuitton, Nina Ricci and Versace.

Chris Ran Lin (2012). This year Chris showing as part of the GQ Menswear Runway. Chris’s work will be featured as a capsule collection in Lane Crawford (HK) later this year.


The 2018 National Graduate Showcase will be styled by renowned Australian fashion stylist Kate Gaskin, who has collaborated with designers including Yeojin Bae, Gorman, Kate Sylvester, Easton Pearson and Romance Was Born.

Global runway production expert Jarrad Serafine-Clark who will be in Melbourne to speak at the Festival’s Business Seminar, will also be lending his expertise in the production of the NGS Runway...from Margiela, to Tommyland for Tommy Hilfiger to VAMFF.

Serafine-Clark said: “Immersing myself in the creative process of the National Graduate Showcase has opened my eyes to the priorities of the next generation. It is a credit to all of the educators to see finalists thriving in their own experimentation as they continue to master their craft with less haste than I have seen in the past. It’s also assuring that sustainability is top of mind for these young designers as they develop textiles, fabrications, tailoring and construction in an effort to raise the bar on innovation.”

The Festival will span over three weekends and will offer a range of packages, bundles and fashion experiences in collaboration with Virgin Australia and Visit Victoria for groups and individuals to come together to be both informed and inspired.


National Graduate Showcase
Friday March 9
Royal Exhibition Building
Tickets now on sale


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