Since 1996, NextGen has supported and mentored emerging Australian fashion designers. This innovative programme presented by IMG has provided the opportunity for four of Australia’s brightest new designers to showcase their Resort ‘21 Collections at MBFWA. In addition to their runway show, NextGen participants are connected to a wide range of industry figures and networking opportunities. Through close mentoring, ongoing business support and practical experience, the program seeks to elevate emerging fashion designers and help them reach a global audience.

MBFWA has accumulated an extensive list of NextGen alumni with some of Australia’s biggest designers emerging from the programme. Take a trip down memory lane as we reveal which talent got their big break from MBFWA's most exciting runway.

1996 - Akira Isogowa

One of Australia’s most celebrated designers, Akira Isogowa has achieved international recognition for his exquisite contemporary designs. Following his success at MBFWA, Akira began showcasing his designs to international buyers in Paris just two years after debuting his first collection in 1996.

1998 - Kate Sylvester

A beloved designer in both Australia and New Zealand, Kate Sylvester launched her first ever collection at MBFWA as part of NextGen in 1998. Kate Sylvester’s designs continue to strike the perfect balance between masculinity and femininity. Styling bohemian-inspired prints in floaty silhouettes with clean tailoring, she prides herself on her modern use of colour, cut and exclusive in-house prints.

1998 - Karen Walker

One of New Zealand’s most widely acclaimed exports, Karen Walker is a global name renowned for her eccentrically elegant style and ready-to-wear, eyewear, jewellery and bags. In 1998 Karen Walker made her runway debut as part of MBFWA’s NextGen picking up immediate orders from international retailers. Adele, Lorde, Rihanna, Gigi Hadid, Michelle Obama and Lady Gaga are among a long list of celebs spotted in her bold designs.

2001 - Gorman

You would be hard pressed to find an Australian woman who has never owned an item from Gorman. Lisa Gorman’s eccentric patterns pervade Sydney and Melbourne’s most fashionable streets and nearly 20 years after launching her eponymous label, she now has 40 stores across Australia. To this day Lisa and her team are forever proud to dress those who dare to be themselves.

2001 - sass & bide

For almost two decades, sass & bide has been at the forefront of women’s designer fashion. Established in 1999 by best friends Sarah-Jane Clarke and Heidi Middleton, sass & bide continue to execute their distinctive creative vision evolving from an underground phenomenon to a cult label of international fame.

2001 - Ksubi

If you weren’t rocking a pair of Ksubi jeans in the early noughties then did you even exist? Emerging in 1999, Ksubi have built a significant presence and cult following globally. The brand has been seen on every A-list celebrity with attitude, from A$AP Rocky to Kylie Jenner, Ruby Rose and The Internet. Shedding its adolescent image to become an established label with a distinct identity, Ksubi has evolved into one of the most respected Australian fashion brands of today.

2014 - Anna Quan

Founded by Australian designer Anna Hoang, a 2011 graduate of the Sydney Institute of Technology, Anna Quan presented her first collection at MBFWA in 2014 as part of NextGen. The year after she debuted her SS15 collection and has since gone on to dress celebrities such as Kendall Jenner and Karlie Kloss. Anna’s focus on subtle details makes every garment unique, whether it be well executed fit, perfectly placed pockets, faultless lining or exaggerated sleeves.

Winners of the 2020 NextGen programme will be announced in April. The NextGen showcase will take place Wednesday May 13 at 4.30pm with limited tickets available. Book here.