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From Down Under to the runway: Celebrating the AAFW winners of DHL's NextGen 2023

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SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MAY 19: A model walks the runway in a design by Cameron Hill during the Next Gen runway show during Afterpay Australian Fashion Week 2023 at Carriageworks on May 19, 2023 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images for AAFW)

Discover the pulse of Australia's rising fashion scene with DHL's iconic NextGen program at the Afterpay Australian Fashion Week. Meet the emerging talents turning heads on the global stage, marking a new era for Australian fashion.

The buzz of Australia's emerging fashion scene crescendoed to a spectacular highlight at this year's Afterpay Australian Fashion Week (AAFW), thanks to the iconic NextGen program presented by DHL. Established in 1996, this trailblazing initiative has been at the forefront of spotlighting Australia's most promising designers, transforming them from hidden gems to internationally renowned fashion houses. The 2023 iteration in Sydney, true to tradition, was a masterclass in innovation, fresh energy and revolutionary design.

On 19 May 2023, the industry's gaze was firmly fixed on the four triumphant talents: Cameron Hill, Liandra Swim, Ruby Pedder and Xi Wu Studio. These standouts were meticulously selected by an esteemed panel of global fashion mavens, including icons from Vogue China, Harper’s Bazaar and IMG Fashion Events and Properties Asia-Pacific, showcasing the diverse voices shaping today's fashion industry.

Australian fashion's fresh faces: A closer look at the winning designers 

1. Cameron Hill: Knitting the future of fashion

Cameron Hill's eponymous brand, founded in 2021, serves as an aesthetic time machine. Marrying the comforting familiarity of grandma-esque lacework with contemporary geometric patterning, her brand transforms the ordinary into the extraordinary. The two-year-old brand champions intricate textures and elegant minimalism, cementing its place in Australia's fashion pantheon.

2. Liandra Swim: A cultural kaleidoscope in swimwear

Liandra Swim, launched in the summer of 2018 by Yolngu woman Liandra Gaykamangu, presents a cultural tapestry woven into designer swimwear. Gaykamangu's brand celebrates her Aboriginal Australian heritage, employing indigenous-inspired prints that embody her deep ties to community, culture and country. 

3. Ruby Pedder: A surreal symphony of style

With the 2023 NextGen accolade in her cap, Ruby Pedder is a burgeoning force in the Australian fashion scene. Her brand, established in 2021, is an artistic rebellion against conventional womenswear. She offers casual couture infused with a touch of the surreal, producing wearable art pieces that defy the norm and dazzle the senses.

4. Xi Wu Studio: A bicultural bonanza

Xi Wu Studio, established in 2021, embodies the harmonious fusion of Eastern and Western garment techniques. The brand reflects the bicultural narrative of designer Xixi Wu, leveraging contemporary detailing and unique design approaches to tell compelling fashion stories. Xi Wu Studio’s creations are as enduringly attractive as they are evocatively fresh.

DHL's power pack: Fuelling the future of Australian fashion

The NextGen prize, valued at over AU$100,000, offers more than a platform for these emerging designers. It also includes a robust content package, international shipping credits from DHL Australia and invaluable networking opportunities

Awards aside, such a platform is designed to create exposure to buyers attending the AAFW, setting the stage for these emerging designers to make their global mark. This isn't the first time we've seen such incredible talent emerge from the program. Read how Australian fashion brand Clea made a feature on the runway, cementing a place in the global fashion spotlight with the backing of the DHL network.

This exciting initiative reinforces our dedication to nurturing Australia's fashion future. By providing a springboard for the nation's promising brands, DHL champions innovation and sustainability in the fashion industry. Through initiatives like NextGen, DHL reaffirms its commitment to fostering talent and contributing to the international growth of the Australian fashion industry, one runway at a time.

As we celebrate the winners of DHL's NextGen 2023 fashion show, we're reminded of the pulsating creativity and potential within Australia's fashion industry. And with DHL’s unyielding support, we can anticipate many more innovative designers making their debut on the global stage, bolstering Australia's standing in the international fashion community.

Lending support beyond logistics

These initiatives underline the integral role of DHL Express in not just shipping and logistics but also as a catalyst for international growth, fueling the dreams of emerging designers and playing a part in transforming their ambitions into a global reality. As we wrap up the success of this year's AAFW’s NextGen 2023, we look forward to seeing how these talented designers leverage their newfound recognition. With the continued support of DHL, there's no doubt they will blaze their trail in the fashion industry, making waves from Down Under to fashion hubs worldwide.

And to all emerging fashion brands, remember, whether it's delivering your designs from Australia to international runways or helping you scale your operations overseas, we’re here to navigate that journey with you. Here's to the next wave of Australian fashion success stories!

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