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The Australian fashion brands worth watching, according to the Fashion Journal team

IMAGE VIA KRYSTAL DEANS
WORDS BY TESS FISHER

A growing list of top local makers and creators.

There are no points for guessing that at Fashion Journal, we’re a sartorially driven bunch. The hint is in the name. We’re always searching for emerging talent and appreciating our favourite established designers, while keeping an eye on the latest releases from industry heavyweights. As an FJ reader, chances are you’re exactly the same. 

Part of the joy of finding a new label – whether it’s genuinely new or just new to you – is introducing it to somebody else. As the proverb goes: a pleasure shared is a pleasure doubled. So, to spread the love, the team at FJ have put our heads together and created an ever-expanding list of our favourite Australian designers.


For more fashion-related features, browse through our Fashion section. 


Some are labels we wear daily, while others are investment pieces we’ll be scrimping and saving for. Whether they’re fledgling designers, or in full flight, we’re spotlighting local labels that feel good, look good, and, more often than not, do good. 

Anna Quan

 

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Anna Hoang burst onto the scene when she set herself an impossible task – to reinvent the classic white shirt. Her take, which included exaggerated cuffs, sleek fits, and embroidered monogramming, earned her a spot on the radar of fashion aficionados worldwide. Her label, Anna Quan, has been seen on the likes of Karlie Kloss and Kendall Jenner, and it’s built an impressive cult following since its inception in 2011.

annaquan.com 

Permanent Vacation

Self-described ‘future-focused’ womenswear label, Permanent Vacation, seeks inspiration from art and culture for its easy-to-wear and sophisticated pieces. Its forward-looking approach doesn’t just mean its pieces fit seamlessly into modern wardrobes, it also refers to the label’s commitment to the planet. The label produces only to meet demand and ensures every person who creates one of its garments is located within a 15km radius of its Collingwood studio.

permanentvacation.com.au 

Suku Home

 

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Collaboration and community form the foundation of the Suku Home brand. The Melbourne-Indonesian label works closely with Balinese artisans to reinterpret and reinvent traditional designs for the modern market. In addition to luxe homewares and bedding, the label creates a range of day-to-night dreamy PJs and robes, along with everything from swimwear to knitwear.

sukuhome.com 

Esse

 

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Conscious consumerism is front and centre at Esse. Having spent over a decade working with global fashion brands, the label’s founder Charlotte Hicks created Esse in defiance of the industry’s notorious levels of excess and waste. The brand is big on creating Esse-ntials – slowly released capsule collections that are crafted to last, and blend easily with future drops. 

essestudios.com 

Oats

 

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Oats The Label creates garments popping with bold colours and pulsing with originality. If you’re looking for cookie-cutter designs with an overnight turnaround, you’ve come to the wrong place. The label’s founder Bridie Davey and her mum make every garment to order, and never skimp on the TLC. 

oats-the-label.com 

Krystal Deans

 

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A minimalist aesthetic and a commitment to slow fashion underpins everything Krystal Deans does. The brand’s considered pieces favour classic design lines and neutral colours, with cheeky overtones from the ’90s and early 2000s. If you’re not sure whether it’s time for a wardrobe update, consult KD’s conscious consumption checklist.

krystaldeans.com

Alix Higgins

 

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Alix Higgins was a Tumblr-trawling teen, so it’s no surprise his eponymous label leans heavily on futuristic digital prints that’ll make you feel like you’re trapped inside the metaverse. His form-fitting garments toe the line between partywear and poetry, and come printed with typography to spark both conversations and imaginations. The gender-fluid pieces are an escapist’s delight, soaked in bright colours, distorted patterns, and cyber-delic designs. 

alixhiggins.com 

Iordanes Spyridon Gogos

Jordan Gogos is one of those people you don’t want your parents to become friends with, because he’s good at everything. A multidisciplinary artist, Gogos has a background in set design and furniture making (you might’ve clocked one of his steel pieces dotted in Dion Lee stores across the country). Better described as ‘wearable art’, his whimsical pieces are a fantastical explosion of experimental prints and bold hues. Community is at the core of his artistic practice; his 2021 debut runway at Afterpay Australian Fashion Week was a collaboration with 25 fellow creatives that resulted in an undeniably joyful, showstopping experience.  

gogos.online 

Karlaidlaw

 

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Melbourne label Karlaidlaw was born out of a desire to create fashion that its designer, Karla Laidlaw, couldn’t find herself. Described by FJ writer Evangeline Polymeneas as “Paris Hilton’s wardrobe if she grew up in Berlin rather than Beverly Hills”, Karlaidlaw takes 2000s classics, like halter tops and ruched minis, and gives them a contemporary refresh. 

karlaidlaw.com 

Sister Studios

 

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Sustainability isn’t just lip service at Sister Studios. The brand is serious about reducing its impact on the planet, with initiatives like making scrunchies from scraps, donating leftover fabrics to schools, reusing swing tags, and avoiding plastic packaging. Its kitsch, colourful designs often come in fun matching sets, perfect for date night, summer picnics or road tripping with mates. 

sisterstudios.com.au

Arnsdorf

 

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Becoming B-Corp Certified is hard work, but to a label like Arnsdorf, it’s worth it. The female-led brand is on a mission to create considered clothing that positively impacts women and the world they inhabit. Made in its in-house Atelier in Naarm, Ansdorf crafts timeless, trans-seasonal pieces that are produced in sustainably-minded limited runs.

arnsdorf.com.au

FME Apparel

 

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Created locally in Melbourne, FME Apparel prides itself on being a truly independent alternative to high street fashion. The comfort-first ranges use high-quality organic fabrics to produce everything from dresses, to outerwear, and accessories. The label’s aesthetic blends vintage inspiration with clean cut, contemporary silhouettes, and the dreamy colour palette includes irresistible tones like sky, celery and seashell. 

fmeapparel.com.au 

E Nolan

 

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Suiting star E Nolan has set a new standard in women’s tailoring. Unlike that fuckboy who hasn’t returned your text, E Nolan garments go the distance. Head to The Dressing Room in Hawthorn East for a full made-to-measure experience, where you can choose from a selection of exclusive in-house patterns and over 600 natural fibre cloths in a rainbow array of colours. 

enolan.com.au

Maara Collective

 

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You know a brand is in good hands when it’s helmed by Julie Shaw, winner of the 2021 Australian Fashion Laureate Indigenous Designer of the Year Award. Maara works closely with Indigenous artists and creatives, entwining interpretations of Country with a modern aesthetic. As part of the Buy1 Give1 program, Maara invests proceeds from every garment to support education in remote Aboriginal communities.

shop.maaracollective.com

Par Moi

 

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Thumbing its nose at fast fashion, Par Moi uses deadstock fabrics to create timeless looks that transcend the seasons. Its collections are a beautiful clash of playful prints with exaggerated structuring in the form of puffed sleeves, ruffled collars, and elongated cuffs.  

par-moi.com

With Jéan

 

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Created by best friends Sami Lorking-Tanner and Evangeline Titilas in 2017, With Jéan plays in the big leagues. If its designs look familiar, it’s because you’ve seen them on the likes of Bella Hadid and Emily Ratajkowski, and dupes plastered all over your socials. The brand drips with ’70s inspiration, refreshed with fun, flirty designs that align with the world’s ever-changing fashion compass.

withjean.com.au

Arthur Apparel

 

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Self-described as ‘glorified daywear’, Arthur Apparel creates relaxed clothing saturated with playful colours and trippy designs. Its comfy designs are ethically handmade in Indonesia, and its mash-up of streetwear-meets-’60s will always have people asking, “Where did you get that?”.

arthurapparel.com

Moss Tunstall

 

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Designer Ajay Jennings created Moss Tunstall to help wearers feel sexy, seen, and comfy in their own skin. His bright, eye-catching designs hero textural play, so expect statement stitching, thick daubs of paint, layers of upcycled materials, and hand-dyed colours to dip you in and out of reality. 

mosstunstall.com

Toilé Studios

 

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Time to revolutionise your office uniform? Toilé Studios could be the answer to your prayers. Individually handmade to order using unconventional cuts, colours and fabrics, Toilé riffs on workwear staples with pieces that are as empowering as they are comfortable. 

toilestudios.com 

Wackie Ju

 

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Free of social constructs, Wackie Ju is a label that’s building an immersive non-binary utopia and a safe space for the queer POC community. Founded by designer Jackie Wu, the label is known for styles that defy the norms – it’s rebellious but elegant and incorporates political and social commentary within each design.

wackieju.com

Kalaurie

 

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Purveyors of investment pieces, Kalaurie offers a full-service end-to-end experience to support your sartorial journey. The process begins at The Atelier in Fitzroy North (by appointment only), where you can explore the stunning Kalaurie showroom. Enjoy a complimentary fit consultation, and rest assured that your new modern heirloom will be treasured for a lifetime, thanks to an in-house repair service.

kalaurie.com.au

Commas

 

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Sydney menswear label Commas made history in 2021 when it nabbed both the Melbourne Fashion Festival’s coveted National Designer Award, and an Honourable Mention for Sustainability. Named in honour of the humble punctuation point, Commas is all about a purposeful pause. Its thoughtful resortwear has been celebrated for its clean silhouettes, original artwork, and high-quality fabrics, sourced from Europe and Japan.

commas.cc

Verner

 

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An Australian fashion staple since 2012, Verner has cemented its position as a favourite in the hearts of countless Australians. Its founder and designer Ingrid Verner revels in bending dressing genres and is known for her experimental approach to form, design, shape and gender. Look out for line-blurring collections that elevate traditional loungewear to be nightlife ready. 

verner.co 

Caves Collect

 

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Boasting elegant cuts, functional design, and quality craftsmanship, Caves Collect is the epitome of ‘cool girl’ dressing. Creators Sarah Russell and Johanna Howe are big advocates for sustainability and local manufacturing, which is why all Caves Collect clothing and leather goods are made in Melbourne. You can overhaul your entire wardrobe here, with everything from light layering pieces like simple tanks, all the way through to trans-seasonal blazers, timeless leather belts and even a small selection of shoes.

cavescollect.com

Collective Closets

Founded by Nairobi sisters Laurinda and Fatuma, Collective Closets celebrates the union of two vastly different cultures. Drawing inspiration from the bold, earthy colours of African fashion, the pair overlay joyful patterns onto the clean, refined lines of Melbourne dressing. The result is clothing that is vibrant yet wearable, with flattering cuts that celebrate the diversity of the female form.

collectiveclosets.com.au 

Lucy Folk

 

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Showered with praise by the likes of the New York Times, Lucy Folk has the Midas touch. A goldsmith by trade, Folk handmakes her line of spirited jewels, which have adorned all your idols – Beyoncé, Solange, Margot Robbie, Zoe Kravitz, and Margaret Zhang, to name a few. Her expansive range also includes Italian-made eyewear, eclectic apparel, and refined accessories.

lucyfolk.com 

Matteau

 

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Matteau’s mantra of ‘less is more’ is evident in every piece this thoughtful swimwear brand creates. Focused on timelessness, Matteau’s bikinis, sun tops and one-pieces can be worn time and time again, regardless of season, trend or era. Your entire beach look is sorted, with a complete line of apparel, including dresses, skirts, blouses and even sandals. As part of its mission to tread lightly on the earth, Matteau prioritises materials from organic, renewable and recycled sources.

matteau-store.com

For more on Australian fashion and the importance of buying local, try this.

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