Michael Lo Sordo’s show is already one of the most highly anticipated on the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia calendar.
Now he’ll really be feeling the pressure, having been named the winner of this year’s BT Emerging Fashion Designer Award at the annual BT Runway for Success event in Sydney. The win will give Lo Sordo a total value of $40,000 to fuel his escalating business, consisting of a $10,000 cash grant, financial planning service and mentoring, and return flights to New York to literally further his brand. The designer was up against By Johnny and Strateas Carlucci.
But while that’s all very exciting, we’re just as interested in who’s bestowing the award – the newly-launched Australian Fashion Chamber. After the string of label closures at the end of last year, we were deploring the lack of something similar to the British Fashion Council or CFDA, and indeed it was Anna Wintour herself who suggested the Australian version during a conversation with Vogue Australia EIC Edwina McCann last year. McCann will preside as the AFC's first chairperson, with the rest of the 20-strong board comprised of industry heavyweights including 10 Magazine editor Alison Veness, Harper’s Bazaar editor Kellie Kush and designer Nicky Zimmermann.
“The AFC is a welcome addition to Australia’s fashion landscape that will help foster young talent and create sustainable, unique and inspiring businesses of which we will all be proud,” McCann said.
Of selecting Lo Sordo for the BT prize, she added:
“Michael’s talent has been recognised tonight due to his exploration of textures and materials, and his design ethos showcasing elegant and flattering shapes. His vision for the future of his business is very clear and winning the BT Emerging Designer Award will allow him to take the next step forward.”
The AFC aims to further the growth of Australian fashion locally and globally. As part of this it plans to launch the AFC Awards this year, which will reward established designers to support the globalization of Australian talent.
Lo Sordo, meanwhile, is focused on local assignments. He just designed a coffee cup in collaboration with LaVazza for the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival, which kicked off on Monday.