Here are the 2021 finalists for Melbourne Fashion Festival’s National Graduate Showcase


The industry’s brightest.

Each year, we have the absolute pleasure of supporting the Melbourne Fashion Festival’s National Graduate Showcase. The runway features a carefully selected handful of the country’s most promising design graduates, giving them the opportunity to display their collections to thousands of avid fashion-goers.

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You can get free tickets to the March 12 digital runway here, but in the meantime, we’re excited to announce the finalists handpicked to appear in this year’s show.

Amy Baran, University of Technology Sydney

An exploration into the millennial experience of fashion, Amy’s collection is one of empowerment for a disillusioned youth. With an instinct to go against the grain, her design practice is informed by the philosophy that the only thing that matters is your own happiness, thus much of her work stems from the things that make her happy.

Amy Lawrance, RMIT University

With a particular interest in historical craft practices, Amy’s approach to design is informed by old-world dressmaking methods and textile manipulation techniques. Her collection Dreams on Paper is a direct response to ephemera intrinsically tied to the history of home dressmaking.

Carol Lan, University of Technology Sydney

Meshing traditional cultural concepts and streetwear trends to form a new expression, Carol’s collection is an ode to her childhood in Fiji. She says her pieces resemble the calm waves, and the tonal blues and relaxed oversized fit of every piece of clothing a testament to this.

Erin Novick, University of Technology Sydney

Erin is passionate about creating clothes that can make anybody feel bold. Her MFF collection explores contradicting binaries of the regular versus the spectacular, exposing the dramatic within the mundane. This is done by contrasting the style and culture of 1800s royalty with the banality of 2000s domestic family life.

Gisella Candi, University of Technology Sydney

Gisella is a Sydney-based creative and emerging fashion designer. Her brand, Similar_Difference, is built upon notions of youth, inclusivity and empowerment. Her collection uses bold halftone screen prints and textured fabrications to explore the feelings and experiences of growing up in a society that rewards tradition and passivity instead of originality, passion and individuality.

Joash Teo, University of Technology Queensland

Drawing inspiration from the natural geometry of the human body, Joash works in 3D, defying the restrictions of two-dimensional patternmaking. His collection Ephemera delves deep into the mental abyss of dark emotional states and uses imagery of shadowy spectres to represent the states of depression.

Karis Zanetta Cheng, University of Technology Sydney

Karis Zanetta Cheng is an emerging textile-based fashion designer captivated by the emotion, history and memories that are embedded within colour and material. Her collection Where Are You From? is a personal exploration into the history, tradition and memory of generations of her family, inspired by nostalgia and transporting the past into the present, with vintage references that straddle two worlds.

Olivia Fagan, RMIT University

Inspired by historical and contemporary art, Olivia used her 2020 honours year to specialise in the creation of contemporary knitwear, with the use of her 1960s vintage knitting machine. In her collection One row at a time, she explores textiles through a variety of specialty knitwear techniques, with a special focus on natural fibres and zero waste.

Phoebe Pendergast-Jones, RMIT University

As an emotionally fuelled fashion practitioner, Phoebe’s work explores themes of heartbreak, introspection and sentimentality. As a keen visual storyteller, fashion design acts as a powerful tool for poeticising and expressing Phoebe’s innermost emotion.

Xizhu Wu, University of Technology Sydney

Xizhu’s collection shuāng is her personal exploration into her bicultural identity. Xi wants to share the story of her bicultural upbringing and she hopes to create something that will resonate with individuals who may share the same experience. Innovative tailoring techniques are used to produce transformative garments, incorporating both Eastern and Western design codes.

To find out more about Melbourne Fashion Festival’s 2021 program, head here.

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