At Latest Melbourne Fashion Festival: Australia's Designers Make a Daring Statement

With the slow trickle of Australian brands like Ellery, Maticevski, and Zimmermann into the global fashion lexicon, you might wonder why more don’t make their reach more inter-continental? The shift of purchasing power to an Asian market can only help the cause of chic, fashion forward Australian labels – and many have already started eyeing US, Asian, and Chinese markets as a way to boost their brand beyond Oceania’s borders.

Ginger & Smart show at the Melbourne Fashion Festival 2018. Photo by Peter Xu.

When visiting the latest Melbourne Fashion Festival 2018, we saw an impressive array of edgier, urbane fashion moving in, on both runways and streets. Forget about the surf and sports labels – here are three trending Australian designers to know right now. 

Chris Ran Lin

Chris Ran Lin show at the Melbourne Fashion Festival 2018. Photo by Peter Xu.

Deep berry contrasts with textural greys; a graphic bolt of yellow or tangerine will set off a dark and structured outfit on Chris Ran latest runway. His kind of innovation with tailoring and knitwear is both eye-catching and very promising. The Chinese-born, Melbourne-based designer who founded his label in 2013 specializes in sculptural knits, as well as modern suiting and accessories. His menswear can actually also be unisex, giving us a neat blend of architectural sophistication, interesting knitted textures with commercial appeal for both men and women. Looking over past collections from Ran Lin, it’s those cool, avant-garde wovens that are just begging to be touched. 

Kalaurie Karl-Crooks

Kalaurie Karl-Crooks show at the Melbourne Fashion Festival 2018. Photo by Peter Xu.

Here’s a label that champions dark romance, but does so with a wearable modern edge. On the runway, Kalaurie’s pristine shirt-dresses in white or black bring to mind very fashionable puritans. They master the balloon sleeve, and aren’t afraid of pleating or rouching, but somehow manage to keep it all very effortless and cool. With all the products made in Melbourne, often handcrafted, designer Karl-Crooks does a sleek label that’s strong on narrative, nostalgia, and eco-consciousness.

Dion Lee 

Dion Lee show at the Melbourne Fashion Festival 2018. Photo by Peter Xu.

Having started his label at 23 years old, Sydney-based Dion Lee has already shown outside of his native Australia at the likes of New York Fashion Week. Lee has been consistently making a name for himself with clever combinations of structured silhouettes with a feminine flourish, and, as a result, has a loyal following evidenced from stores all around Australia. This latest collection is striking in how sensuality works so well with utility in those cut out corset details, mesh outfits, furs, and silks.