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Blair Archibald wins BT Emerging Fashion Designer Award 2019

Meet the winner of the BT Emerging Fashion Designer Award 209, Blair Archibald!

by The AFC

12 April 2019



Meet the Winner | Blair Archibald

BT and the AFC are proud to announce Melbourne-based Blair Archibald as the winner of the BT Emerging Fashion Designer Award 2019!

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Blair Archibald is a contemporary label that investigates the relationship between soft tailoring, sports and workwear. The focus is on practicality, adaptability and maintaining a coherent narrative through the collections.

The brand is best known for two key design components. The first is engineering garments with longevity and sustainability through a minimalist aesthetic, using local production partners and highly considered fabrics. The second is an approach to design that reconfigures gender conventions by cutting silhouettes that are accessible to both men and women and softening the rigidity of commercial menswear silhouettes in Australia. This became the main driver for starting the label as the designer dealt with gender identity issues and as a result, the integration of soft tailoring mixed with linear pattern making is a reflection of blurring those gender parameters in the work.

BT is proud to help emerging talent in Australia’s fashion industry and to demonstrate the value of financial support and mentoring as an important factor of success for these designers, as they take their business to the next level. Congratulations to the 2019 BT Emerging Fashion Designer winner, Blair Archibald.
— Jane Watts, General Manager, Private Wealth & Advice, BT

Blair Archibald on the BT Runway.


At BT Runway on Thursday 11 April, the three finalists; Blair Archibald of Blair Archibald, Minhee Jo of Aaizél and Courtney Holm of A.BCH, showcased their collections as part of a prestigious fashion show, alongside eight of Australia’s leading designers; Bianca Spender, CAMILLA AND MARC, Carla Zampatti, Dion Lee, Ginger & Smart, Manning Cartell, Rachel Gilbert and Toni Maticevski.

Now in its seventh year, the BT Emerging Fashion Designer Award continues to showcase the innovative design talent growing in the local industry. Blair Archibald joins the ranks of Australian designers to take home the coveted fashion design award, including; Albus Lumen (2018), Kacey Devlin (2017), macgraw (2016), Emma Mulholland (2015), Michael Lo Sordo (2014) and Christopher Esber (2013).

The award was established by BT with the goal of identifying Australia’s emerging designers and providing financial support and mentoring. Seven years on, the initiative continues to help Australia’s emerging talent grow both personally and professionally.

The BT Emerging Fashion Designer Award and the BT Runway event are excellent opportunities for our local emerging designers, and an indication of the outstanding innovation and design talent coming out of Australia. Both BT and the AFC were impressed by the calibre of this year’s entries, with over 50 applications including uni-sex designers, and the take-up of the new sustainability and ethical practices criteria. This was considered an essential addition to ensure applications were looking at how their business operates as a whole and how it impacts on the world around them.

The Australian Fashion Council is proud to support BT Financial Group in the discovery and recognition of emerging fashion talent. It’s incredibly important to nurture the future of the Australian fashion industry and BT offers a valuable platform to do this.
— David Giles-Kaye, CEO, Australian Fashion Council

Image by Lucas Dawson Photography | Edwina McCann with Blair Archibald

Image by Lucas Dawson Photography | Edwina McCann with Blair Archibald


The three finalists; Blair Archibald, Minhee Jo and Courtney Holm, were chosen by a panel of industry experts, who were tasked with the challenge of selecting this year’s winner. The panel included; Edwina McCann as head judge (Editorial Director, Vogue Australia, Vogue Living, GQ Australia and Co-chair, Australian Fashion Council), Bianca Spender (Founder & Designer, Bianca Spender), Jaana Quaintance-James (Head of Sustainability & Ethical Sourcing, THE ICONIC), Melissa Singer (Fashion Editor, The Age and Sydney Morning Herald) and Rebecca Lim (Group Executive, Legal & Secretariat, Westpac Group).


As the winner of this year’s award, Blair Archibald will receive a prize package valued at over $100,000 provided by BT and a host of industry supporters. The prize includes:

  • A $10,000 cash grant and two years of financial planning services provided by Viridian Advisory

  • 12 months free insurance provided by Westpac. The winner may select either business, home or motor insurance

  • Accounting and business advisory services for two years provided by Bentleys NSW

  • Legal advice provided by Gilbert + Tobin for two years

  • Vogue Australia to produce and style a designer look book with makeup provided by Linda Jefferyes 

  • Emirates return business class flights for two to any one of Emirates' 41 destinations on their European network including the fashion capitals of London, Paris and Milan 

  • A one year subscription to Flaunter - a digital platform connecting brands and media

  • label.m Australia in conjunction with TONI&GUY Australia will provide: 

    • Access to their National artistic team for two major fashion events

    • Assistance for two look books or editorial shoots

    • A year’s worth of hairdressing at TONI&GUY Australia HQ

    • A year’s worth of label.m hair styling and products

  • Two mentoring sessions with two fashion industry icons provided by the Australian Fashion Council

  • Photo production and video content of the winning collection shown at BT Runway

  • A keepsake engraved trophy



BT has been helping Australians prepare for their best since 1969. Today BT helps thousands of customers find superannuation, investment and insurance solutions to suit their personal needs and goals.

The BT Emerging Fashion Designer Award has been an important initiative for BT, providing a platform to support emerging talent to reach their full potential by investing in and mentoring the growth of Australian designers.

Find out more about the BT Emerging Fashion Designer Award and BT Runway below.

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