Meet the Finalists | BT Emerging Fashion Designer Award 2019


Meet the Finalists | BT Emerging Fashion Designer Award 2019

The Australian Fashion Council & BT Financial Group are pleased to announce designers Courtney Holm of A.BCH, Minhee Jo of Aaizél & Blair Archibald of Blair Archibald as the finalists for the 2019 BT Emerging Fashion Designer Award!

The three finalists will showcase their latest collections alongside some of Australia's most successful fashion designers at the BT Runway event on April 11 in Sydney. On the night, one designer will be announced the winner and will receive a prize valued at over $100,000.

The finalists were carefully selected by an esteemed panel of industry experts, from over 50 applications. The judges for the 2019 award include Edwina McCann (Editorial Director, Vogue Australia, Vogue Living, GQ Australia and Co-Chair, Australian Fashion Council), Bianca Spender (Founder & Designer, Bianca Spender), Melissa Singer (Fashion Editor, The Age & Sydney Morning Herald), Jaana Quaintance-James (Head of Sustainability & Ethical Sourcing, THE ICONIC) and Rebecca Lim (Group Executive, Compliance, Legal & Secretariat, Westpac Group).

Now in its seventh year, we are extremely proud of the contribution the BT Emerging Fashion Designer Award has made to the next generation of designers. This year’s entries were of an exceptional standard and the finalists showcase the unique and diverse talent of Australia’s fashion industry. We look forward to presenting the Award in April 2019 and helping another emerging designer take their business to the next level of success.
— Jane Watts, BT Financial Group General Manager Advice & Private Wealth

The application criteria was updated this year to include a stronger focus on applicants’ sustainable and ethical practices within their business. This was considered an essential addition to ensure applicants were looking at how their business operates as a whole and how it impacts on the world around them.

The high calibre of entries this year highlights the strength of our emerging talent in Australia and the growing commitment towards conscious fashion. The AFC congratulates the chosen finalists for 2019, Aaizél, A.BCH and Blair Archibald, who have each demonstrated a focus on creating cutting edge design and building sustainable business foundations.
— David Giles-Kaye, CEO, Australian Fashion Council

The designers also presenting their collections at BT Runway will include, Bianca Spender, CAMILLA AND MARC, Carla Zampatti, Dion Lee, Ginger & Smart, Manning Cartell and Rachel Gilbert. The event is run in support of the charity Dress For Success, whose mission is to empower women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and development tools.

The initiative was first established in 2013 and has since become one of Australia’s most esteemed designer award events. The award has fostered the success of a number of Australian designers, who have all found success as established labels in the global market, including; Albus Lumen (2018), Kacey Devlin (2017), macgraw (2016), Emma Mulholland (2015), Michael Lo Sordo (2014) and Christopher Esber (2013).


Courtney Holm

A.BCH is an independent fashion label founded on hyper transparency and Whole Garment Design. Creating considered fashion and lifestyle pieces for global, conscious citizens, A.BCH is making responsible fashion desirable while removing many of the barriers customers face when seeking out healthier alternatives.

With aim to see genuine change for good within the fashion industry, every piece put into the world is created with intent, from responsibly sourced fibres, threads and components, ethical supply chains, focus on the upper phase/s and finally the end of life. A.BCH is pioneering with circularity at the design level as Australia’s first fully circular label. Founder Courtney Holm is one of the leading voices in transparency and circularity in fashion.


Minhee Jo

A label synonymous with effortless, tough femininity and disheveled elegance, Aaizél has constructed and elevated everyday essentials in Australian sourced fabrics for the progressive girl with a poetic spirit. With everything being designed and produced in Melbourne, Aaizél pieces have a timeless and seasonless approach that cater to both hemispheres.  

Aaizél has a unique approach to fashion, converging the influences of romantic and detailed European Art and traditional East Asian clothing construction. With a strong focus on structured silhouettes and undone styling, sharpened with a contemporary edge.

Blair Archibald

Blair Archibald

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; 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 precedent 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.



To find out more about the BT Emerging Fashion Designer Award and the BT Runway 2019 event, follow the link below, and stay up to date with the finalists journey at @AusFashionCouncil.