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Next Gen 2024 Program: Up-and-coming Australian designers

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DHL introduces a new batch of up-and-coming fashion designers in the Next Gen 2024 Program. Know more about them before their exciting shows during Australian Fashion Week on May 13. 

Despite its distance from the celebrated fashion capitals of Italy and France, Australian fashion has secured a prominent place on the global stage with its distinctive laid-back style and chic comfort. Australia has emerged as a fashion hub in its own right, driven by an array of talented designers who each bring a unique flair that exemplifies the country’s style. In fact, many popular Australian labels have found their way into the mainstream and into the closets of iconic celebrities. One great example would be Dua Lipa and Anne Hathaway, who flaunt outfits by one of the country’s renowned Australian fashion designers Dion Lee.

As fashion continues to thrive in Australia, numerous up-and-coming designers are making significant strides to establish their presence in the industry. The Next Gen 2024 Program serves as a crucial platform for these emerging talents, where they can refine their skills, present their unique design visions, and actively contribute to redefining Australian fashion. This program highlights their creative expression and offers them the opportunity to connect with industry leaders and gain exposure on an international stage.

What is the Next Gen program?

The Next Gen program is a nationwide competition established in 1996 that aims to discover and introduce fresh talent in Australia's fashion industry. 

Each year, four winners are chosen by an elite panel of judges for the unique opportunity to showcase their creative designs on the runway at Australian Fashion Week, one of Asia-Pacific’s premiere fashion events. Some of the big names included in the 2024 panel include the likes of Adam Baidawi, who is the Head of British GQ and Naomi Smith, who is the Fashion Director of Marie Clare and ELLE Australia.

The competition is open to all Australian citizens currently residing in Australia and Australian permanent residents aged 18 and older.

Over the years, this prestigious competition has been a launchpad for numerous celebrated Australian designers and labels, such as Akira, CAMILLA & MARC, BEC & BRIDGE, Clea and Anna Quan, helping them achieve international acclaim.

How does the Next Gen 2024 program help support winners with their businesses?

The Next Gen prize provides four winning designers with a unique platform to maximise the visibility of their fashion business and increase their sales opportunities by showcasing their designs at the Australian Fashion Week. Valued at over $100,000, the prize package includes:

  • A dedicated runway show for the four winners on the official Australian Fashion Week schedule.
  • A comprehensive content package that features runway photography, show videos, and a livestream accessible to a global audience.
  • A dedicated brand campaign that highlights looks from the four winning designers.
  • Tailored PR, social media, and digital marketing strategies to enhance their profiles.

As the event is presented by DHL, winners also gain the opportunity to expand their business with the support of one of the world's most trusted logistics companies:

  • Winners receive $2,000 in DHL International shipping credits, courtesy of DHL Express.
  • An exclusive one-on-one session with a DHL Fashion logistics expert.
  • Promotion across DHL's global social networks, broadening their exposure to an international market.

Winners of the Next Gen 2024 prize

This year's Next Gen 2024 has unveiled a host of remarkable new fashion designers in Australia, each eager to leave their mark on the Australian clothing industry. 

Amy Lawrence

Photography courtesy of Brett Clark

A visionary in modern minimalism, Amy Lawrence introduces a fresh perspective to Australian fashion with her sleek, contemporary designs. Founding her label in Melbourne in 2020, Lawrence's fashion ethos is characterised by sophisticated silhouettes and a commitment to sleek, modern aesthetics. Her designs prominently feature undyed silks, along with unique structures and textures that emphasise purposeful detailing. Each garment she creates is meticulously designed to ensure no fabric goes to waste, exemplifying her dedication to sustainability in a market that increasingly values eco-focused approaches.

Emily Watson

Photography courtesy of Brett Clark

Established in 2019, Emily Watson's designs offer a playful and innovative twist on traditional swimwear. Her chic creations transform typical beach and poolside attire into captivating pieces that blend high-end fashion with practical swimwear. Featuring asymmetrical hemming, frenetic ruching, and tasteful ruffles, her collections draw inspiration from the rave scenes of the 90s. In addition to her unique aesthetic, Watson's designs are crafted to flatter a diverse range of body types, emphasising inclusivity and allure in every piece.

House of Campbell

Known for its bold, empowering collections, the House of Campbell is reshaping women's fashion with its distinctive strong lines and vibrant prints. Launched in 2019 by South Australian designer Abby Potter, House of Campbell crafts clothing that epitomises the "ideal Campbell woman" – elegant, a leader, and a dreamer. 

The brand also draws inspiration from its rich heritage, beginning with Abby’s grandmother, Annie Campbell, whose guidance and passion for fashion inspired Abby to pursue a career in the industry. Originating from Glasgow, the family's Scottish roots are evident in the House of Campbell's identity, with contemporary suits and dresses featuring the signature Scottish tartan and demure feminine silhouettes. 

Potirakis

Photography courtesy of Brett Clark

Founded in 2021 by Christopher Potirakis, Potirakis is an innovative fashion label that creates and develops a fictional universe to enhance their line of wearable and collectable products. Inspired by the worlds of 2000s video games and corporate life, they masterfully blend these elements into their designs. 

Moreover, Potirakis emphasises utilitarian styles while offering a unique twist on everyday wear, aligning with the current Australian fashion trend of blending functionality with high fashion. The label’s distinctive pieces include oversized cargo pants, modern jackets, and striking oversized puffer jackets, each designed to make a bold statement in both function and fashion.

DHL Express’ role in elevating new talent in the Australian fashion industry

DHL Express' strategic partnership with the Next Gen program exemplifies our commitment to nurturing new talent in the Australian fashion industry. By collaborating with Australian Fashion Week and other key players in the fashion industry, we give designers a global platform to showcase their unique perspectives to an international audience.

However, our support for these designers doesn’t stop there. We also offer tools and strategies to help designers understand and leverage the dynamics of e-commerce to grow their business, from the online purchase phase to the logistics and delivery phase. 

By working closely with them, designers learn to adapt to the digital-first nature of the global fashion market, ensuring they can scale their business and reach customers both domestically and internationally. 

If you’re a fashion designer or fashion retailer looking for a logistics company to help expand your business worldwide, open a business account with DHL Express today.

For more tips on growing your fashion business, you can check out our logistics best practices advice from MATCHES.