Melbourne Fashion Hub is searching for the next generation of local designers

WORDs by Hannah Cole

Melbourne Fashion Hub raises the profile of local, conscious talent and helps them push their work into the real world.

I often find myself pondering the future of the fashion industry. What will it look like? What will we wear, and what ingenious fabrications will these pieces be made from? Amid global doom and gloom, I find this a more positive topic for my brain to consider.

New forms of leather, innovative recycling or reuse methods and the rise of made-to-order promise a more considerate way forward. And while these are exciting and important developments, more and more, I am convinced that the secret lies in burgeoning local talent.

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They are the young people who are still honing their skills yet tackling major world issues with a sense of Gen Z practicality. ‘Be part of the solution, not the problem’, is the defining motto. Take risks, try new things and push for real and positive change. 

It’s thanks to organisations like Melbourne Fashion Hub that we can truly pin our hopes on local fashion to change the game. Launched by Julia Browne, a professional dancer and the founder of Style Shifter Media (a platform featuring style advice, fashion news and upcoming Melbourne student runway shows), the organisation is making this a reality. 

Identifying a gaping hole between education and business for recent graduates, Melbourne Fashion Hub offers a free yearly program to Melbourne-based fashion students (and those who have graduated). With a group hailing from schools such as RMIT, Whitehouse Insitute of Design and TAFE, the collective focuses on advocating for and empowering emerging and independent fashion designers. It’s the first initiative of its kind in Australia and hopefully, the first of many. 

In effect, Melbourne Fashion Hub raises the profile of local, conscious talent and helps them push their work into the real world. Specifically, the program aims to nurture entrepreneurship, open future pathways through building industry connections and assist in the development of these emerging labels.

The work of these designers is amplified, showcasing each collection and giving them well-deserved attention through various pop-up events. The designers selected to take part are exceptional and diverse, each with unique ways of addressing the industry’s issues.

The 2022 cohort of designers exhibits striking talent. Some lean towards streetwear and edgier looks, like Jasmine Sim’s Enso Studio (find out more about the genderless collection here). Meanwhile, Tamika Fawcett’s label, Aurei.Lua, is abundant with feminine silhouettes, delicate prints and statement tiers. 

Safa El Samad’s Soof particularly captures my attention, inviting consumers to bring in their old, unloved garments for a revival in a step towards the circular economy. Using digitising software and embroidery technology, each piece is uniquely embroidered with messages that speak to the wearer, prompting a sentimental attachment. 

The talent pool is brimming, and you’re invited to take part. To all the budding designers out there, Melbourne Fashion Hub is currently taking applications for its September 2022 intake. Join like-minded individuals, engage with the local industry and take your conscious fashion design dreams to the next level.

The last few months have taught me many things about living in a more conscious way, but one vital lesson is to focus on local: prioritise local fashion labels, local production and locally-farmed ingredients. We might be a nation small in number, but there is no doubt we have the talent to lead the world in sustainability. Melbourne Fashion Hub is making sure that happens. 

Head here to apply now.

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