SYDNEY — Melbourne-based designer Dylan Best has won the 2023 National Designer Award for his Best Jumpers line of elevated casual wear for men and women.
Announced at the PayPal Melbourne Fashion Festival on Thursday morning Melbourne time, Best will receive a prize pool of 130,000 Australian dollars, or $86,566 at current exchange, which includes 20,000 Australian dollars, or $13,318 cash, in addition to marketing and editorial opportunities.
A graduate of the University of Melbourne and The New School’s Parsons School of Design, Best worked as an assistant designer at Ralph Lauren and Club Monaco in New York from 2014 to 2017 before returning to Australia and launching his brand in 2018, with a focus on unisex pieces, premium fabrications and humorous Australian-isms. Prices range from 55 Australian dollars, or $37, for a bucket hat emblazoned with the word “Mate” or an embroidered wombat — an Australian marsupial and the Best Jumpers house logo — and reach 389 Australian dollars, or $259, for a zippered black utility jacket.
“Lots of international brands really embrace where they are from, this is my way of embracing our Australian heritage,” said Best, whose wombat logo features on the chests of polo shirts and button-down shirts. His spring 2022 collection offers graphic T-shirts printed with the words “No Worries” and 100 percent merino crewneck sweaters with “Mate” rendered in intarsia across the front. He sells through his own website and retail store in trendy Gertrude Street, in the Melbourne suburb of Fitzroy, but has plans to expand into local and international wholesale and open a second store in Sydney.
The judging panel included PayPal Melbourne Fashion Festival chief executive officer Caroline Ralphsmith and David Jones’ general managers of womenswear, footwear and accessories Bridget Veals, and menswear, childrenswear, home and audio visual Chris Wilson.
Said Wilson, “We look forward to supporting the brand and its growth and development within the Australian fashion industry. Best Jumpers has developed a clear brand proposition and creative aesthetic that captures the laid-back Australian lifestyle while carefully considering the fundamentals required for future business success.”
The Honorable Mention for Sustainability went to Sydney label Madre Natura, which will receive a 10,000 Australian dollar, or $6,659 cash, and a mentorship program with awards partner David Jones. Byron Bay, New South Wales-based Hyde & Stone won the 2023 People’s Choice Award, which is decided by public vote.