As yet another year rolls around, so too does the abundance of talent within the Australian fashion industry. Particularly at this time in the year, our awareness of those creatives who possess the kind of talent we’re talking about becomes increasingly apparently, with the finalists for the Australian Fashion Laureate being announced on September 23.

As the country’s pinnacle fashion industry honour – established by IMG and the New South Wales Government in 2008 – the many categories covered by the Laureate acknowledge those industry figures who have, over time, made a significant contribution to the growth and development of our local fashion industry, with awards in the past received by our very own editor-in-chief, Edwina McCann, together with designer Dion Lee, Zimmermann and Carla Zampatti.

In addition to the Australian Fashion Laureate’s primary lifetime achievement honour, a number of additional awards also recognise additional accomplishments across categories including womenswear, menswear, retailer, and accessories, as well as ‘Model of the Year’, ‘Outstanding Creative’ and ‘Emerging Talent’.

And 2019 has also seen the introduction of a brand new category dubbed ‘Sustainable Innovation’, an honour that is extremely reflective of the eco-conscious direction the industry is moving towards. The inaugural award will recognise brands that are pioneering best practices, implementing long-term strategic goals, or otherwise demonstrating leadership in sustainability.

“With the introduction of the Sustainable Innovation award, we are celebrating the Australian industry’s growing dedication to lessening fashion’s impact on our environment,” said IMG Australia’s executive director of fashion, Natalie Xenita. “This award category complements our existing accolades, which not only celebrate Australia’s exceptional talent, but highlight the most noteworthy innovations shaping our industry and its future.”

This year, nominees for the 2019 Australian Fashion Laureate include Bernie Leser, Laura Brown, Maggie Tabberer and Malcolm Carfrae, who were each nominated by a voting panel of more than 30 industry leaders, including media, buyers, communications professionals, brand executives, creatives and designers, called the Australian Fashion Industry Alumni.

Across the additional categories, Australian labels including Bassike and Lee Mathews have been nominated for a number of awards, models including Charlee Fraser and Duckie Thot are being recognised, and Vogue Australia’s fashion director, Christine Centenera, is in the running to receive the laureate’s Outstanding Creative Award.