BY ANYONE’S MEASURE, 2016 was a good year for Tessa and Beth Macgraw. The sisters’ eponymous label, macgraw, took out the Tiffany & Co. National Designer Award, follwed by the BT Emerging Fashion Designer Award,then theaustralia/new Zealand region in the Internationalwoolmark Prize — also known as the holy trinity of fashion-design prizes in Australia. Next up, they showcased their resort 2017 collection at Mercedes-benz Fashion Week Australia to glowing reviews and were picked up by David Jones, Moda Operandi and Farfetch. Like we said, a pretty good year.
“We weren’t expecting all this,” Beth admits from the macgraw studio in Darlinghurst, Sydney. “The industry and international acceptance of the brand has been very surreal.” Surreal seems like an appropriate word, seeing as the girls (along with their mum and dad) were still personally packing every single online and wholesale order until “very” recently.“the focus is now on bringing people into the business who can do things like that for us,”tessa says. “We are learning to delegate and let go a little.”
The sisters, who already count tastemakers Natalie Joos and Pandora Sykes and supermodel Coco Rocha as fans, made their entrance onto the world stage in January this year, flying to Paris to represent Australia/new Zealand in the International Woolmark Prize. There, they were judged by a panel that included Dame Natalie Massenet, singer and muse Lou Doillon and Victoria Beckham — another experience they can only describe as surreal.
When I speak to the sisters they are working all hours on resort 2018, which will debut at Mercedes-benz Fashion Week Australia this month. This collection is about pushing the boundaries, not only in design technique, but also in personnel: it features a collaboration with the embroiderers at the Country Women’s Association of New South Wales.“over the last six months we have become more interested in developing unique fabrics and innovating new techniques,” Beth says,“and I think you’ll see that evolution at our fashion week show.”
After taking out a slew of top design prizes last year, Tessa and Beth Macgraw of Australian label-on-the-rise MACGRAW are gearing up for an even bigger 2017 From top: macgraw A/W 2017 in their Woolmark shoot; the designers; macgraw A/W 2017 lookbook.