The future of Australian fashion

Every year at MFW, there is a runway dedicated to all the up and coming student designers from universities across the state including students from Box Hill Institute, Holmesglen Institute, Kangan Institute, The Master’s Institute for Creative Education, RMIT University and Whitehouse Institute of Design.

Helena Dong's winning collection. Photo: Tess Gellie

More than 40 students displayed their collections, with each collection consisting of three pieces. Students demonstrated an array of fashion techniques such as knitting, embroidery and leather work. Oversized items seemed to be the trend for the runway, with oversized hats, bags, jackets and pants.

Tasma Jesperson’s collection – Image: Tess Gellie

Not only is this runway a showcase of the best emerging designers, but it is also where the Melbourne Fashion Week Student Award winner is announced. The MFW Student Award acknowledges the top five student collections, with one student taking out the prize at the end of the night. Melbourne Fashion Week says that the finalists are students who “demonstrate excellence in research and development of fashion design, innovation, construction and potential to contribute to the future growth of the industry”. This year’s top five finalists were Navarone Johnson, Helena Dong, Hannah Berry from RMIT, Lucy Broomhall from The Master’s Institute for Creative Education and Nigel Vogler from The Whitehouse Institute of Design.

Tara Sutherland’s collection – Image: Tess Gellie

The winner of the 2018 Student Award was announced at the end of the show by Beverley Pinder, the Councillor of the City of Melbourne. RMIT student Helena Dong was awarded the prize. Pinder made the point that Dong’s designs were so well made, they could be put on a shop floor and sold that day. Dong’s unique and creative designs and her attention to detail in both the making of her clothes as well as her accessories, is what made the judging panel choose her as the award recipient.

Helena Dong winning MFW Student Prize – Image: Tess Gellie


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