IMG announced the winners of Next Gen, Afterpay Australian Fashion Week’s (AAFW) emerging designer program.

Afterpay Australian Fashion Week
? Lauren B | Afterpay Australian Fashion Week

IMG announced the winners of Next Gen, Afterpay Australian Fashion Week’s (AAFW) emerging designer program, presented by DHL. AAFW will take place 9-13 May 2022 live at Carriageworks, Sydney, and virtually at

Next Gen maximises visibility and sales opportunities for four winning designers by providing them with the opportunity to showcase their creative excellence on the runway at AAFW. Established in 1996 to identify Australia’s emerging designers, the program has helped discover and launch the careers of top industry names, including Akira, Anna Quan, BEC + BRIDGE, CAMILLA AND MARC and sass & bide, among others. The prize is valued at over $100,000 and includes runway show production, a content package including runway photography and live stream, and international shipping credits provided by DHL.

“Next Gen recognises the new guard of innovators influencing the future of fashion design in Australia,” said Natalie Xenita, Vice President-Managing Director of IMG Fashion Events & Properties Asia Pacific. “The 2022 winners have demonstrated talent in design and harnessing fashion’s power as a tool for communicating social and environmental messages that influence culture.”

2022 Next Gen winners include:

  • ASIYAM: Founder and creative director Asia Hassan founded ASIYAM to challenge the norms of how women should dress, born from her frustration of not finding well-designed and accessible clothing with modest aesthetics. The label features intricate details and fabric manipulation, designed to be worn by any woman.
  • CLEA: Designer Natasha Gordon founded CLEA in 2021, embracing an aesthetic that proposes a new balance of opposing elements – masculine and feminine, textural and clean, strength and softness, intricate and minimal. With meticulous attention to detail and carefully considered creation, each garment is designed with enduring elements and longevity at its core.
  • PHOEBE PENDERGAST: Phoebe Pendergast launched her eponymous label in 2019 after graduating from RMIT’s Fashion Design Honours program. Pendergast’s design process draws inspiration from personal memories and experiences she wants to relive, creating pieces that evoke a visceral response within the wearer.
  • NOT A MAN’S DREAM: Designer Samantha Saint James’ vision for her label is to defy fashion’s gendered archetypes. Saint James combines traditional fashion design with contemporary innovation, art and culture to create luxury androgynous streetwear that empowers the wearer.

The Next Gen runway show will take place on Friday, 13 May, at 10 am on the official AAFW schedule. To complement the runway show, a panel discussion featuring all four winners will follow on the same day at 4:30 pm, as part of The Talks, AAFW’s ongoing series of culturally enriching conversations. Runway show experiences range from $109 to $239, while The Talks are $49. A selection of tickets to both events is available now via AAFW: The Experience, fashion week’s innovative consumer offering.

Gary Edstein, the CEO and Senior Vice President of DHL Express Australia said, “At DHL, we look forward to supporting the talented 2022 winners of Next Gen as they embark on the next chapter of their growth journey. Bolstered by industry-tailored international express logistics, these designers will be enabled to expand and connect with new customers in overseas export markets.”

AAFW is an IMG event supported by the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW.

In addition to Afterpay and Destination NSW, AAFW is made possible through the support of sponsors City of Sydney, David Jones, DHL, Disaronno, eBay, GlamCorner, Glenfiddich Whisky, Hendrick’s Gin, LG Laundry Appliances, Made by Fressko, Peroni, Pommery, Porsche, Redken, San Pellegrino, Shopify, SKYE Suites, Synergie Skin and Vittoria Coffee.

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