News & Runway

Melbourne Spring Fashion Week: The New Generation

Any Melbourne Spring Fashion Week insider knows that the end-of-week student shows are a highlight. For perhaps the final time, these budding designers have the chance to let their creativity run wild and the result can be inspiring, simply beautiful, or sometimes just downright incomprehensible. Happily, emerging independent labels have also been popping up elsewhere throughout MSFW this year. Here’s a look at some of the most promising young talent to emerge over the past week.

Sophie Jacobs

Did you ever have one of those “magic” tree kits as a kid? You’d soak a cardboard cut-out in special solution and unnaturally coloured crystals would gradually bloom to create ‘foliage’ for your miniature tree. Design student Sophie Jacobs’ joyful collection is a wearable version of that childhood toy. With effusive tulle and beading and a riot of colour she has created a carnival-esque effect. I’m not sure I’m brave enough to wear Jacobs’ designs down the street but they sure are pure fun to look at.

Jack Loder

Jack Loder is “completely obsessed” with ex-Givenchy designer Riccardo Tisci, loves McQueen’s past and present incarnations and has interned with Toni Maticevski. Not a bad foundation for a bespoke designer. Loder likes to think of his work as “a showcase of techniques” and though in his short career he has already worked with pros like model Kate Peck and photographer Monty Coles (“a legend”) his own ambitions are charmingly humble. “If in 20 years’ time I’m still here [in Melbourne] working I’ll consider myself very lucky”.

Neo Dia

As a surprise inclusion in the opening Designer Series ‘Gala’ runway, Neo Dia made their mark accompanying feathered headpieces by renowned milliner Richard Nylon down the runway. The designer duo, who are influenced by geometry and artful architecture, have already featured in Italian Vogue and flown to Amsterdam for the respected Modefabriek fashion fair. I have a feeling their dream of being stocked in Comme des Garçons’ iconic Dover Street Market in London isn’t entirely out of reach. 


Anisha Bhoyru with her design and Sophie Van Den Akker

Each year the MSFW RMIT Student Prize is awarded to one fourth year student who will be bestowed with the opportunity to live and undertake an internship in international fashion capital and Melbourne’s sister city, Milan. This year, Anisha Bhoyru is that student. Her fourth year collection entitled ‘Precious Threads’ proposes “a system of intricate manipulations of yarn to construct garment, layered with the value of longevity, and integrity of handcrafts.” To me, this simply translates to fashion design with the noble goal of no waste.

Simone Agius

A sense of humour will get you a long way in this industry. Fashion student Simone Agius possesses just that. Her capsule collection pokes fun at the obsession with celebrity culture and resulting “overblown objects.” I’m not sure if said overblown objects are the luxury status symbols – like the fancy watch, the perfume bottle, the cold hard cash – that Agius makes into wearable art, or if she is referring to the enlarged ego of celebrity itself. Or indeed, the ego of celebrity fashion designers (Galliano I’m looking at you). Still, this new perspective sadly fails to put me off coveting Agius’ giant diamond ring handbag.

Stay tuned. With a little luck and lot of perspiration these young designers may soon become household names.