Ten years ago, Australian designers did not register much on the world stage of fashion. Nowadays, Australian designers are taking on the fashion world and making a name for themselves among the very best.
Although I’ve lived in London for the last several years, so much of my wardrobe consists of pieces from Australian designers as I am continually drawn to their unique points of view, formed by a sun drenched environment, an outdoors lifestyle and an attitude that doesn’t take itself too seriously (but loves to add a little drama to an everyday frock).
Each one of my Australian pieces never fails to draw compliments and questions from strangers in the street wanting to know where I got it. So at the risk of letting the cat out of the bag, below are my top 20 Australian designers. No doubt most of them are household names to most Australians, but if you’re from outside Oz, then take notes.
One word of warning, however. If you are based in the UK and shop Australian brands from Australian or US based websites, you might be hit with a customs charge when it arrives in the UK. Generally, it is not too ridiculous, but the more expensive the item the higher the charge. Always try to factor it in to your purchase decision (generally, it is worth it for the “where did you get that awesome dress?!” factor).
1. Scanlan Theodore
My all time favourite Australian designers, before I could realistically afford their elevated and sophisticated designs, are Scanlan Theodore. Their timeless designs have that perfect desk-to-drinks thing going on. Available from the Scanlan Theodore website.
2. Camilla and Marc
Up there with Scanlan Theodore is Camilla and Marc, the masters when it comes to polished blazers, minimal chic and intelligent design. They’ve been worn by the world’s most stylish women from Meghan Markle to Bella Hadid. Available from the Camilla & Marc website.
Zimmermann is no longer the best kept secret of Australian fashionistas since its founders, sisters Nicky and Simone Zimmermann, have taken the world by storm. Their romantic, beachy creations float down the catwalks of New York Fashion week and feature regularly on the instagram feeds of the worlds most influential women. Available on Matches and Net a Porter.
4. Toni Maticevski
Melbourne-born Toni Maticevski is a artist when it comes to draping, and an genius when it comes to creating flattering silhouettes for the female form. Elegant, extra and breathtaking. Event dressing at its most awe-inspiring, available on Net a Porter, MyTheresa and Moda Operandi.
5. Dion Lee
6. Lee Mathews
Lee Matthews is one of those designers who epitomises the laid back Australian lifestyle in the way that you can wear his designs anywhere from beach bar to restaurant to travelling the world. Also available on Net a Porter, Matches, and occasionally Moda Operandi.
7. Viktoria and Woods
For an antipodean take on Scandi minimal design, check out Viktoria and Woods. Their clean lines and considered colour palettes are a thing of beauty. Available on the Viktoria and Woods website.
Perth-born Kym Ellery is the designer behind Ellery, which has recently shown at Paris Couture Week. It is loved for its dramatic, sculptural yet wearable aesthetic. Also available on Net a Porter, Matches, and MyTheresa.
9. Albus Lumen
Albus Lumen designs represent the Australian interpretation of the European summer (which I would argue is a very Melbourne way to approach style). Lots of linen and natural fabrics in floaty yet structured pieces. Available on Net a Porter and Matches.
10. Manning Cartell
Manning Cartell has been around in Australia for years, but has only recently been recognised further afield for its feminine and sophisticated-sexy aesthetic. Available on the Manning Cartell website.
11. Spell & the Gypsy Collective
Before you even start planning your summer holiday, you have to stop by the Spell online shop to snap up one if their highly coveted and fast-to-sell-out beach/festival style dresses. Based in Byron Bay, Spell is one of those success stories I love to hear about. Their designs embody that carefree, individualistic Byron Bay lifestyle, and they have developed a cult following for that reason.
12. Realisation Par
Thanks to Instagram, Realisation Par has quickly grown beyond its Australian beginnings and become a firm favourite amongst influencers and real people alike. It’s “Naomi” leopard print skirt became a hit on Instagram, but it is so much more than just one skirt. Feminine and fun. Available on the Realisation Par website.
13. Bec and Bridge
Bec and Bridge represents that flashy Sydney style in a way that translates to any city around the world. Sexy, feminine and sharp. Available on the Bec and Bridge website.
Arnsdorf is not as well known outside of its home of Melbourne, but it won’t stay that way. It is ethically designed using sustainable practices, and made in Melbourne. It has an intelligent mix of city sophistication with whimsical details. I love it.
Jac+Jack makes basic pieces in the most luxe and beautiful way. Even the most basic of tshirts has an elevated look to it. Available on the Jac+Jack website.
Morrison was started by a husband and wife team in Fremantle, Western Australia. Its aesthetic is based on relaxed silhouettes and natural fabrics. Perfect for city to resort wear.
17. Ella Sanders
Ella Sanders makes luxurious 100% Australian wool knits. And although her knitwear is her speciality, her spring/summer collections are divine, always in the most beautiful natural fabrics. You can read more about the designer in my interview with her here. All Ella Sanders pieces available on the Ella Sanders website.
18. Ginger and Smart
Ginger and Smart is bold, playful and polished all at once. You could pick up a piece for the office as much as you’d find something to wear to a glamorous cocktail party. Available on the Ginger and Smart website.
19. Rue Stiic
Rue Stiic is emblematic of that Byron Bay, coastal vibe, which also translates as a kind of L.A. cool that travels well from beach to city.
Bassike is unlike any other label in Australia (or elsewhere). It’s basic tshirts, denim, shirting and jersey pieces are casual, contemporary and with a vibe that is all its own. Check it out to see what I mean. Also available on Net a Porter.