SYDNEY — Michelle Li and Mikayla Hogg have been named the winners of the Australian Fashion Foundation’s annual scholarship awards for 2022.
In partnership with the American Australian Association, Li and Hogg have each been awarded a cash prize of $20,000 and, pending global travel restrictions, a six-month internship with a yet-to-be-determined U.S.-based fashion house.
Li, a 2021 fashion graduate of RMIT, impressed judges with her “Felt, Dress” graduate collection of sculptural wool felt wrap dresses and accessories inspired by the Dada and Purism movements.
Hogg, a creative director, photographer and stylist and a 2021 graduate of Melbourne’s Whitehouse Institute of Design, caught the attention of the judging panel with her “Undressed” graduate project, a portfolio of images of original art works, fashion photos and illustrations, as well as arrangements of handmade ceramic vases.
The judging panel, which convened remotely via Zoom, was comprised of fashion stylist Brana Wolf, Zimmermann cofounder and creative director Nicky Zimmermann, AUSFF alumnus Georgia Lazzaro and AUSFF cofounders Julie Anne Quay and Malcolm Carfrae, the founders, respectively, of VFiles and Carfrae Consulting.
Launched by Quay and Carfrae in 2009, the AUSFF program has facilitated internships for Australian graduates at companies such as Calvin Klein, Proenza Schouler, Louis Vuitton, Thom Browne, Alexander McQueen, Narciso Rodriguez, Dion Lee and Wardrobe NYC.
According to Carfrae, the judges were particularly impressed with the resilience and resourcefulness of the nine 2021 finalists in the face of Australia’s coronavirus lockdowns, which stretched into much of this year.
“I think all of us just really felt for them because it’s not natural for young creative people to be isolated in that way” said Carfrae.
He added, “They were working with whatever resources they had. Like one girl who was having her best friend crochet and model in all her pictures. And you’re like ‘My God, you managed to produce this beautiful output of creative work and yet with the most incredible challenges of being isolated’. Certainly in all the years [of the awards], the biggest takeaway for me was seeing how they overcame that and just turned it to their own benefit”.