Sydney-based label Macgraw has won the 2016 Tiffany & Co. National Designer Award at the Melbourne Fashion Festival.
The four-year-old label, designed by sisters Beth and Tessa MacGraw, beat four other finalists at the jeweler’s Collins Street Melbourne flagship on Wednesday to win a prize package valued at over 100,000 Australian dollars or $74,430 at current exchange, including 10,000 Australian dollars cash ($7,443), a return trip to New York, free legal services and mentoring.
It is the first award for the duo, who have shown twice at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia and have built a 400,000 Australian dollar, or $297,720 retail business that boasts 16 stockists worldwide, including Moda Operandi and Otte New York.
The winning looks were from the fall “Equestrienne” collection, which retails from 295 Australian dollars, or $220, to 895 Australian dollars, $666, and features wool-cashmere tailoring and sequined silks with signature playful accents such as horse prints and a peaked Mod cap produced in collaboration with Baz Luhrmann’s go-to milliner Rosie Boylan.
“We like to say if Ali MacGraw would wear it and if Alexa Chung would wear it, then it’s in the collection” said Tessa MacGraw of the brand’s DNA, adding that industry mentoring is the most valuable component of the Tiffany trophy.
“They [mentors] come in and look at your business and work out where you can do things better,” she said. “Fashion designers aren’t known for being the most astute at the financial decisions. It’s great if you create, but unless you can stay in business and keep doing it season to season, there’s no point”.
Running until March 13 in and around the Melbourne Museum Precinct, the 20-year-old Melbourne Fashion Festival is Australia’s largest consumer-facing fashion event, which attracted nearly 400,000 attendees in 2015, each spending an average of 592 Australian dollars, or $441, on clothing, accessories and beauty products prior to or as the result of the festival.