Last night budding designers Deanna Fanning (womenswear) and Hannah Tan (menswear) were given a stockinged leg-up in the industry from the Australian Fashion Foundation. The talented women each received prizes worth more than $20,000, including a six-month internship in the USA or Europe.


"Deanna and Hannah both showed a strong, original point of view, and presented collections that were inspiring and exciting," said AUSFF co-founder Malcolm Carfrae. "They presented and marketed their work with professionalism and a keen sense of innovation.



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Deanna Fanning, Malcolm Carfrae and Hannah Tan with models at The Blue Room.


"It was incredibly difficult to decide on the winners. It shows that Australian design schools give a complete education, not only focusing on talent but on how to talk about their brands."


Malcolm, the charismatic founder of Carfrae Consulting and former head of communications for Calvin Klein, launched the under-the-radar Australian Fashion Foundation Awards in 2009. Since then winners have gone on to take part in internships with Calvin Klein, Narcisco Rodriguez, Proenza Schouler, Thom Browne and Alexander McQueen.


"This is a competition for very young talent,” Malcolm says. “Most of them are very recent graduates so to have the support of the industry is incredible."


Fanning has already won attention with her innovative knitwear, having presented a promising BA collection at London’s prestigious Central Saint Martins in July. Tan completed her honours degree at UTS in October.



Malcolm Carfrae with Simone Zimmermann at the AFF Awards.


The pair were welcomed into the Australian fashion family at The Blue Room on Bondi Beach by guests including the eternally chic Carla Zampatti, her equally impressive daughter Bianca Spender, Vogue stylist Christine Centenera, Simone Zimmermann, Alexandra Smart and Camilla Freeman-Topper with her brother Marc Freeman.


The awards were judged by Malcolm, legendary stylist Brana Wolf, Dion Lee, Harper’s Bazaar editor Kellie Hush, former Vogue editor Nancy Pilcher, In Style US editor Laura Brown and Woolmark marketing consultant Kara Hurry.



Carla Zampatti with her daughter Bianca Spender.


Woolmark has extended their support to include trips that will take the winners to the company’s new Hong Kong Wool Resource Centre and a guided tour of China’s key manufacturers and weavers.


"The inclusion of a unique educational experience to meet with industry experts is a welcome addition to the prize and allows the two winners to further develop an understanding of the wool supply chain and its importance to the global fashion industry," says the Woolmark Company managing director Stuart McCullough.


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