Top TAFE NSW designers deliver slow, sustainable fashion at MBFWA

Words by Bianca O'Neill

Images via Getty Images (pictured Jinay)


The Innovators show is always on the top of my list at MBFWA. The opportunity to see new designers full of fresh ideas delivering their take on the future is infinitely more exciting to me than the usual looks being sent down an increasingly commercial-focussed runway.

This year, the lineup was particularly exciting. As I wandered through the collections backstage before viewing the runway, I heard about the strong focus on slow fashion, clearly defined supply chains, sustainable practice and natural fibres

This passion for future-proofing their work methods and delivering what consumers have been shouting about for years speaks to a new generation of designers who just get it. Make it personal, construct it well, use the right materials and know your makers; it should be simple, but sometimes it just isn’t.

Opening the runway was Mi’An’Mar, with a deeply personal collection filled with inspiration from her family, delivered with a Gucci-esque retro vibe. Colourful outerwear was lined with self-sketches that added a flash of detail, with a lot of the vintage flourishes that adorned the pieces carefully hand-stitched. Her menswear was particularly cool.

Jinay focussed on delightfully curated prints which also harked back to a bygone era. Her era-agnostic vintage aesthetic and voluminous silhouettes were spot-on-trend with other runways this year, and the painstakingly sourced vintage embellishments added a sense of authenticity to her collection.

A focus on merino wool brought a soft, textural identity to Valeska’s collection, which was inspired in part by a gelato-coloured mural by Sydney Opera House architect Jørn Utzon. The pretty colour palette was delicious, and the ultra-fine Italian-spun merino wool fibres delivered a luxurious and surprisingly malleable collection which was light and airy – and far from the stiff, thick woollen jumpers of old.

View this post on Instagram

Backstage at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week #mbfw19

A post shared by VALESKA (@valeska_the_label) on

Ineson was best when they played in colour; a stunning pastel-rainbow sheath with soft draping caught my eye, while an inky coat layered over a pop orange dress had me wondering what was buried underneath. Interesting attention to detail delivered deconstructed silhouettes in traditional suiting fabrics.

If there was a prize for instant wearability, it would go to Manon. Chic, ultra-cool takes on current trends delivered with understated styling bodes well for the brand’s foray into the commercial realm. A green leather crop paired with a cleverly draped full skirt, as well as a punky sheer dress in an ink stain print, were particularly good.

George Habibeh is a is clearly a couturier in the making. After walking me through his hand-beaded and intricate pieces backstage – many of which were constructed entirely by Habibeh himself over many, many painstaking hours of hand stitching – I was delighted to find that the collection delivered on the runway. Fittingly, his closing look felt like a nod to a darkly beautiful bride; a black, highly beaded gown covered in subtle hand and face motifs which twisted and contorted around swirls of smokey sparkles.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by George Habibeh Couture (@georgehabibehcouture) on

A beautiful end to an excellent runway, which inspired audible gasps from those around me. Something I’ve yet to hear from the scheduled shows…

Follow Bianca’s MBFWA coverage at @bianca.oneill

Lazy Loading