If we were to take away just one thing from last week’s Australian Fashion Laureate award ceremony it would be this: it’s an exciting time for Australian fashion.
Our staple designer brands like Zimmerman and Dion Lee, who were both awarded at this year’s AFL, continue to grow on the international stage, dressing the likes of Charlize Theron, Jennifer Lawrence and Alicia Vikander. But, perhaps more excitingly is the slew of new and affordable brands popping up. Australian designers are starting to make a name for themselves as the forerunners in the ‘cool brand’ fashion game, with a minimal aesthetic and unique laid-back style. Take, for example, Sydney-based label Sir The Label – currently nailing simplistic wardrobe essentials – who launched only two years ago and already have a large international following.
With a crop of new brands coming up from under-the-radar, we’ve put together a list of new labels to love, for when international shipping is too much of a drag…
Co-founder and Creative Director Alana Pallister launched the brand just six months ago and already I.Am.Gia has a serious supermodel following. Kaia Gerber, Bella Hadid and Emily Ratajakowski are just a few of the big names touting the new label. Inspired by the ‘IT-girl’ and named after Gia Carangi, who is widely considered to be the first ever supermodel, I.Am.Gia’s aesthetic is all about the powerful badass female. Plus, that sub-$200 price point is pretty hard to say no to.
This one is seriously under the radar, having launched just a few months ago and in the early days of only 400 Instagram followers. Club Menus does that great balancing act between streetwear and contemporary basics, boasting a range of leather separates, bodies, oversized shirts and simplistic dresses. The price point is pretty unbeatable too, with everything under $100.
Hansen and Gretel
Hansen and Gretel are doing their part to fill the gap between show-stopping statement pieces and the kind of separates designed to fit in with an existing wardrobe. Silky dresses in leopard, tropical and gingham prints are the perfect throw-on pieces for last-minute engagements and would look equally fantastic beachside. Shirts and skirts in light fabrics and faded prints could be paired with jeans and basic tees that you already own. Everything is incredibly versatile but each standalone piece is exquisite in its own right, boasting the kind of modern shapes and cuts that you’d be hard-pressed to find elsewhere.
One for the menswear fans, this Melbourne-based label is a staple in contemporary streetwear. Influenced by a ‘90s aesthetic with a punchy colour scheme and graphical illustration, Ichpig is the answer to unique yet wearable streetwear. The price point is very accessible too, with everything hovering around $100.
The Sydney-based label launched just last year and touts a similar aim to that of Hansen and Gretel – filling the holes in your wardrobe for special but very wearable pieces. Posse’s basics have an off-duty French-girl feel that rise above the pace of fast fashion, giving you timeless, key pieces your wardrobe can rely on. Their collection is anything but basic though, expect to find individual, vintage-inspired additions that will blend seamlessly into what you already own. At affordable prices, it’s already seen multiple quick sell-outs.
Australian lifestyle brand Lucy Folk, founded by Creative Director of the same name, is the Aussie go-to for one-of-a-kind jewels. The Melbourne-based designer recently opened up shop in Sydney’s Bondi. Folk named her new store ‘Playa,’ after the Spanish word for ‘beach,’ focussing the inspiration she gathers from her love of travelling around the globe. The brand-new store stocks a collection of her fashion-forward jewellery, sunglasses and clutches, as well as a selection of so-cool-it-hurts labels – many of which were not previously stocked in Australia. Folk’s global success saw her nominated in the accessories category at this year’s Australian Fashion Laureate, so while her name is firmly above the radar, her brand is definitely worth celebrating on this list.
Playa is located at Shop 3, 11-13 Hall Street Bondi Beach.
Old TAFE student and Sydney designer Emma Mulholland made her debut at Australia Fashion Week just four years ago, and her pieces have since been spotted on Kanye West, Azealia Banks, Grimes, M.I.A and Kimbra. Her celeb audience speaks volumes for the kind of designs to expect: blazingly loud and dripping in offbeat excess. Mulholland does nothing in halves, her latest show at Australian Fashion Week was themed around an intergalactic internet age, taking inspiration from the misfits of Araki-made films. With several very successful, international collaborations under her belt, this is definitely a designer to watch.
Got a favourite new label we haven’t mentioned here? Comment below and feed our shopping addictions!