As part of my professional practice subject we look at various opportunities to develop portfolios within the Australian fashion market. These include events, competitions or awards available to emerging designers. I will give a short overview of the two I found most interesting and suitable for my own portfolio, some of which may be of relevance to other local designers.
Quantas Spirit of the Youth Award
The first one I researched is the Qantas Spirit of the Youth Award (SOYA) now SOYA365. The Spirit of the Youth Award is a multi-disciplinary award aimed at promoting young creative talent. As discussed in a previous entry, emerging designer Michael Lo Sordo was the winner of the fashion criteria last year. Other areas include: Photography, Interactive Gaming, Written Word, Visual Design and Communications, Film & Video, Animation, Music, Visual Arts, Architecture & Interior Design, Craft & Object Design with possibility of new categories on request.
The award is a grant based program that has been running for almost a decade. Recently the award has had a change in direction under the new name SOYA365, the awards are now continuously running, each discipline with a unique deadline. Entries are accepted for 365 days a year until judging. Entries for the award are able to be accumulated for the following year which begins again immediately. This provides a constant and consistent platform for emerging designers; in my case emerging fashion designer, to utilise the website as a portfolio as well as submit entries for the award.
The grants include $5000 in cash which could act as a gateway opportunity to jump-start investments in any business ideas for designers. Also included is a further $5000 worth of air travel for those inclined to extend their careers overseas. The final priceless incentive is the mentoring program offered through the award, linking emerging talents to established designers and creative people within industry. According to the SOYA website, 2,400 entries were submitted by young creative talents last year.
This award offers opportunities of promotion, guidance and financial aid, whilst also giving all entrants an opportunity to display their work to an audience interested in creative talent. I feel like this is a win-win opportunity for designers to develop a portfolio as well as enter into a creative competition. This award is multi-faceted, which for myself and others with diverse skills, offer a chance to present the diversity works across various design fields.
Fashion Exposed DEBUT
Sydney and Melbourne fashion tradeshows Fashion Exposed are local events for fashion wholesalers which run for 3 days in Sydney (January) and Melbourne (August). The show provides wholesalers the chance to showcase their latest collections to retailers, whilst also taking on early orders and create connections for future clients. Fashion Exposed DEBUT is an event within the show to promote emerging designers.
DEBUT continues to be the go-to platform for up and coming designers. Each season new and promising fashion designers will sit before a panel of industry professionals. Judged on technique, commercial readiness, marketing and more, the winner will go on to take the coveted Debut Award and a selection of industry prizes.
DEBUT is open to young designers Australia wide, providing a platform to show to an industry audience as well as potential buyers from various retailers to small boutique owners.
Whilst working as a graphic designer and design assistant for a small business fashion wholesaler, I worked as an exhibitor at Fashion Exposed Sydney for 4 consecutive years until 2012, as well as the Melbourne Fashion Exposed in 2012. This gave me some insight into the type of audience involved as well as the standard of the DEBUT shows. This platform would be most relevant to young designers who wish to start their business locally, as a creates local exposure within a trade show environment.