The Young Designers To Watch This Melbourne Fashion Festival
Meet some of the rising fashion designers setting the stage for Melbourne's fashion scene.

With Melbourne Fashion Festival around the corner, we’re looking at one of our favourite parts of the event – the emerging designers! Each year, ten young talents get involved with the festival for the first time through the National Graduate Showcase, which is often the most fun and creative runway on the program.

Taking place on March 9, the showcase will see these hand-picked graduates take your breath away with their incredible collections.

Here’s who we’re particularly excited to see!

1) Yiran Zhou

First up is RMIT graduate designer Yiran Zhou, who explores themes of duality, the human condition, and death in her work. Her ethereal debut collection, Twinning, navigates twin relationships, or, as she describes her own relationship with her identical twin sister, ‘reverse identities’.

With the use of natural fibres and accessories sourced and upcycled from vintage markets, Zhou's work is sustainable, innovative, and gothic, reminiscent of the early works of Alexander McQueen. Featuring sleek tailoring, romantic, draping silhouettes, and x-ray-like prints, she explores mirroring, personal identity, and existentialism through her atmospheric designs. To learn more about Yiran Zhou, click here.

2) Kritikon Khamsawat

With a great interest in conceptual fashion, Kritikon Khamsawat explores the space between our internal and external realities in their graduate collection Ma Void. Using AI-generated images and digital technologies, the collection navigates juxtaposing colours and oversized silhouettes to investigate perception, fantasy, and reality through their creations.

Comprising towering forms, distinctive compositions, and flowy silhouettes that illuminate the duality of self/other, Khamsawat’s designs are textural, otherworldly, and evocative as they highlight the spaces between how we dress, how we present, and how we are viewed in bold, beautiful detail. To learn more about Kritikon Khamsawat, click here.

Yiran Zhou

Kritikon Khamsawat

3) Ada Fong

Ada Fong’s premiere collection Miniaturise is a larger-than-life, surreal exploration of the human form, with the designer swaddling her models with oversized clothing and accoutrements. Fascinated with ball-jointed dolls, Fong’s latest collection turned humans into dolls themselves through scaling up the clothing size to reflect on themes of fantasy and reality, identity performance, and nurturing our inner child.

Composed of oversized buttons, large bows, and soft ruffles, Fong’s designs are intricately constructed and dream-like, adding a playful youthfulness to fashion that reminds us to have fun with our clothing and personal style. To learn more about Ada Fong, click here.

4) Beibei Li

Melbourne-based designer Beibei Li explores themes of philosophy and meditation through her esoteric collection Spirituality. Drawing on her love of Buddhism and the concept of Zen, Beibei simulates traditional methods of wrapping robes around the body to present the unique texture of draping, while her use of knit jersey fabrics texturally evokes the circular visions achieved through transcendental meditation. Visceral, imaginative, and dreamy, Li’s work is simply stunning! To learn more about Beibei Li, click here.

5) Yiwei Ju

Described as a designer who brings virtual reality to life, Yiwei Ju will showcase her otherworldly debut collection Portable Space. Created using 3D rendering software, the collection focuses on silhouettes, space, and architecture, as her larger-than-life designs conjure pop culture references of Blade Runner and The Fifth Element.

Featuring rounded hats, spiral silhouettes, and dresses that double as a sci-fi party look, her designs are astonishingly innovative and fantastical. To learn more about Yiwei Ju, click here.

While these five designers have caught our eye early, there are still five more graduate designers to be featured in the showcase, and we can’t wait to be surprised by their work! Each of these designers down under is a tour-de-force in their own right. We’re excited to see their presentations come the Melbourne Fashion Festival in March!

If you liked our piece on the Rising Designers of 2023, you might also like our piece on New Kid on the Block Aaron Fluck.

Ada Fong

Beibei Li

Yiwei Ju

Christina Howard

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The Young Designers To Watch This Melbourne Fashion Festival