SYDNEY — The Australian Fashion Foundation has unveiled its 2023 Scholarship Awards, at the same time unveiling plans to expand the program Stateside next year.
The winners for 2023 are fashion designer Kritikon Khamsawat and creative director Olivia Law, recent graduates of Melbourne’s RMIT and The Whitehouse Institute of Design in Sydney, respectively.
In partnership with the American Australian Association and The Next Generation — a new private foundation established by Afterpay cofounder and chief executive officer Nick Molnar and his wife Gabi — Khamsawat and Law will each receive a 20,000 U.S. dollar grant and, pending global travel restrictions, an internship with a U.S.-based fashion company or publisher in 2023.
The judging panel comprised Camilla and Marc cofounder and creative director Camilla Freeman-Topper; Vogue Australia editor in chief Edwina McCann; The Next Generation director Courtney Miller; Entente Agency founder Kara Hurry, and Malcolm Carfrae, the cofounder of AUSFF and the founder and principal of New York PR agency Carfrae Consulting.
“It has been a hard two years learning to understand where I came from as a creative and as a designer and now I’m able to pinpoint where I’m at with my career and creativity. With this award I am looking forward to developing collaboration and community within my practice,” said Khamsawat, who presented a whimsical sportswear capsule that included a trench coat with a detachable umbrella crinoline skirt and a handbag made from a shoe. Law, meanwhile, impressed judges with her multitasking prowess on a portfolio of images.
“She creatively directed, photographed, styled, retouched, did illustrations for, cast, [did] hair and makeup,” said Carfrae. “She could go to a brand and run content for it, she could be running every single aspect. It’s a good example of what the colleges are doing now — the students are not just learning one skill, they’re learning multiple things and becoming incredibly well-rounded.”
Established in 2008, the Australian Fashion Foundation Scholarship Awards have facilitated internships for Australian fashion graduates at brands including Calvin Klein, Louis Vuitton, Thom Browne, Proenza Schouler and Alexander McQueen, in more than one case leading to full-time design positions at those companies.
In 2023, due to additional funding received from new partner The Next Generation, the foundation plans to work with U.S.-based fashion colleges to bring a group of their graduating students down to Australia to gain experience within the Australian industry. Parsons The New School for Design is one college with which Carfrae is in discussions and Afterpay Australian Fashion Week could be one destination for the American students, he said.