The Australian

DESIGNERS ON THE RISE

Australian A an fashion’s ’s emerging ng new stars rs

- GLYNIS TRAILL-NASH FASHION EDITOR

Manufactur­ing will need a boost if the Australian fashion industry is to thrive, the winners of this year’s National Designer Award say.

Husband-and-wife duo Emma and Richard Jarman have manufactur­ed their winning swim and resort label, Commas, in Sydney from its beginning four years ago, and say more Australian designers are now wanting to bring manufactur­ing back onshore since the pandemic.

“We got in early with the busiest factory,” Richard Jarman said.

“Now every designer here is trying to make (their collection­s) there. So they’re run off their feet.

“In Australian manufactur­ing, there’s no second generation coming through — it needs a government initiative to change that. And they know that.”

The award presentati­on, held in Melbourne as a lead-in to next month’s Melbourne Fashion Festival, also saw the brand take home the accompanyi­ng Honourable Mention for Sustainabi­lity statue, introduced last year.

Six emerging brands were up for the awards, including Maara Collective, E. Nolan and Holiday the Label.

Commas has already gained internatio­nal traction by landing accounts at retailers including online majors Matchesfas­hion and MyTheresa, the UAE’s Bloomingda­le’s and Harvey Nichols department stores, and leading resorts including Soneva in the Maldives.

It has just picked up Brown’s London.

As part of their prize, award sponsor David Jones will stock a capsule collection, and the brand will take part in the store’s gala runway on March 11, the opening night of MFF.

“Commas were the most allround in their sustainabi­lity, their design aesthetic, their business acumen and as people, they lived and breathed the range,” Bridget Veals, general manager womenswear for David Jones and part of the judging panel, told The Australian. “We were super impressed by how global they were already, but how true to being Australian they have remained.”

Eloise Bishop, head of sustainabi­lity for the department store, said all six brands showed that sustainabl­e initiative­s were now “the new normal”.

“Ten years ago, there were some emerging designers that were talking to sustainabi­lity and it was a real novelty, but now this is what they get taught at university — we have to value raw materials, we have to deal with human rights issues in supply chains and customers are more educated.”

This is the 25th anniversar­y of both the MFF and the NDA, the latter considered the most significan­t award in Australia for emerging designers.

Past winners include Toni Maticevski, Dion Lee, P.E Nation, Macgraw and Romance was Born.

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 ?? AARON FRANCIS ?? Kylah Day and LJ Chawech model designs from National Designer Award-winners Richard and Emma Jarman.
AARON FRANCIS Kylah Day and LJ Chawech model designs from National Designer Award-winners Richard and Emma Jarman.

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