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Finalists announced for the Westpac Private Bank Emerging Fashion Designer Award 2020

26 February 2020

Westpac Private Bank, in partnership with the Australian Fashion Council (AFC), is pleased to announce labels Commas, Mndatory and Nagnata as the finalists for the Westpac Private Bank Emerging Fashion Designer Award 2020.

The finalists were selected from over 45 applications, by an esteemed panel of industry experts. The judges included Edwina McCann (Editorial Director of Vogue Australia, Vogue Living, GQ Australia and Co-Chair of Australian Fashion Council), Marc Freeman (Director of CAMILLA AND MARC), Caterina Scardino (Fashion Stylist) and Melinda Tually (Responsible Sourcing Strategist - Fashion & Retail for Ndless: The New Normal).

This year is the first time the award was open to entries from both menswear and womenswear labels. It also marks the second year of a stronger focus on the responsible efforts of the labels involved, with applicants being judged on their sustainability and ethical practice.

“Now in its eighth year this award is evolving with the industry and customers’ demands for sustainable fashion. Westpac Private Bank is proud to support Australia’s emerging fashion talent in taking their businesses to the next level and to create enduring success,” said Ashley Stewart, General Manager Private Wealth.

"The Australian Fashion Council is proud to see such a diverse and gifted line up of finalists for 2020. Commas, Mndatory and Nagnata represent the high calibre of local emerging talent and prove that the future of fashion in Australia is something to be excited about," said Leila Naja Hibri, Australian Fashion Council CEO.

The three finalists will present their collections alongside some of Australia’s most successful designers in April, including Bianca Spender, CAMILLA AND MARC, Carla Zampatti, Ginger & Smart, Manning Cartell, Rachel Gilbert, Oroton and Scanlan Theodore. Of the three finalists, one designer will be announced as the winner on the night and will receive a prize valued at over $120,000. This year’s prize includes:

  • A $10,000 (including GST) cash grant provided by Westpac Private Bank
  • 12 months free insurance provided by Westpac
  • Financial planning services provided by Viridian Advisory for two years
  • Business advisory, strategy, accounting and wealth services for two years provided by Bentleys NSW
  • Legal advice provided by Gilbert + Tobin for two years
  • A Vogue Australia produced and styled look book
  • A Toni & Guy Australia professional hair service package
  • Linda Jefferyes makeup service package
  • Emirates return Business Class flights for two
  • A one-year subscription to Flaunter a digital platform connecting brands & media
  • Two mentoring sessions with two fashion industry icons provided by the Australian Fashion Council.

The initiative was first established in 2013 (under the BT brand) and has since become one of Australia’s most esteemed designer awards. It has fostered the success of a number of Australian designers, as they develop from emerging labels into household names, including; Blair Archibald (2019), Albus Lumen (2018), Kacey Devlin (2017), macgraw (2016), Emma Mulholland (2015), Michael Lo Sordo (2014) and Christopher Esber (2013).

Westpac Private Bank supports the charity Dress for Success Sydney, whose mission is to empower women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and development tools.

The 2020 Finalists

About | COMMAS

Inspired by an aquatic lifestyle, Commas was founded by creative director Richard Jarman in 2016 with an ambition to create a complete resort wardrobe made to transcend the water and enter the everyday. The name Commas represents a purposeful pause, a reminder to catch your breath, to recalibrate, and take pleasure in the moment. The brand serves as a catalyst to find calmness in the spaces between life’s clutter. Commas creates contemporary designs in muted tones for a modern, masculine sensibility. Comprising the highest-quality fabrics sourced from Europe and Japan, each collection’s cornerstone includes tie-front swim shorts, lightweight button-down shirting, original artwork silk shirting, loose linen trousers, and the much-coveted Italian linen robes.

Media Assets | | @commas


Founded in Melbourne by Brian Huynh, MNDATORY is an independent Australian designer menswear brand. Inspired by the design philosophies of architect Louis Kahn, MNDATORY builds on wardrobe fundamentals through a transformative design approach. Specialising in men’s outerwear and tailoring, MNDATORY releases multiple collections per year via its exclusive “Co-Creation” model. Through decoding its brand DNA, all MNDATORY collections now facilitate a co-creative process; which allows customers the opportunity to customise and personalise any garment from the designer collections.

Media Assets | | @mndatory


NAGNATA is a premium fashion and lifestyle brand designed for modern movement and studio-to-street style. The brand was founded by Australian fashion designer, stylist and creative director Laura May, and later joined by her sister Hannah, a textile artist and photographer. Their collections incorporate high-end fashion constructions with contemporary sportswear appeal, offering an unconventional concept to the fashion, lifestyle and activewear markets. Through sustainably focused contemporary fashion lines and artisan collaborations, the brand aims to redefine value and challenge the rampant consumerism engendered by fast fashion.

Media Assets | | @nagnata_

About | Westpac Private Bank and Private Wealth

Westpac Private Bank is part of the Private Wealth business of the Westpac Group comprising of Westpac Private Bank, St.George Private and Bank of Melbourne Private. It is Australia’s oldest private banking business and one of the most awarded. Private Wealth is focused on helping wealthy individuals and families within Australia protect and grow their wealth. Clients of Private Wealth have access to a comprehensive offering built around their goals and backed by the financial resources of one of the world's leading financial institutions. Private Wealth’s purpose is to help clients and their families create and enjoy enduring financial advantage. Private Wealth is proud to have clients who have been with their business for nearly 150 years over four generations.

W |

About | Australian Fashion Council

The Australian Fashion Council (AFC) is a non-profit membership organisation with over 65 years of service to the industry. The AFC exists to promote the growth of the textile & fashion industry in Australia. Members are drawn from across the fashion & textile industry value chain, and range from micro to large companies, education, state and national industry associations and students. AFC activities and projects act to support five focus areas; strengthening supply chains, fostering design & innovation, promoting ethical practice, nurturing business and building Australian export.

W | FB | @ausfashioncouncil TW | @ausfashcouncil IN | @ausfashioncouncil #AusFashionCouncil


For more information and media requests, please contact;

Bradley Waters

Senior Project Manager

Australian Fashion Council

M: 0400 386 509


Karly Gniel

Senior Event Manager

Westpac Group Events Team

M: 0466 302 479



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