ONE OF the most important elements of Melbourne Spring Fashion Week, is the time and focus given to the young designers who are – one stitch at a time – sewing their way into Australia’s fashion fold.

It’s in these fresh-faced and often brazen talents that we get a glimpse of fashion trends to come. And, if the MSFW16 Emerging Designer runways are anything to go by, we are all in for one hell of a creative, colourful and quirky ride.

As most of Melbourne prepared for the working week, the city’s fashion-obsessed dressed like it was Saturday night in Manhattan and converged on the city’s town hall for the Emerging Collective and Emerging RMIT runways.

The MSFW: Emerging runways are known to act as launching pads for our city’s talented new fashion designers and – well, the students lived up to the city’s description of the event.MSFW 16_300x250px_OnSale

The words “creative”, “daring” and “artistically inspired” were used to advertise the emerging runway shows and when I reflect on the collections tonight the word that sticks the most is daring.

Both runways were void of any current trends (which was refreshing). And when I say void, I mean completely void. If there was any trend that had even a slight representation within the collections, it would be statement sleeves, with several pieces featuring floor-length sleeves. The student’s very quickly set the expectation that we were about to be treated to styles we’ve never seen before and perhaps a few that would push more than one boundary.

Layers were very much a common thread across both runways but, that’s not to say that any of the collections were like the other. Some demanded the crowd’s focus with bold, contrasting colours and an almost “pop-culture” twist; while others kept to a neutral tone with structured pieces to complement the sophisticated palette.

Needless to say, the crowd was pleased and you will be too – stay tuned for photos (they weren’t available at the time of our post … what can we say, we’re fast!)

The Emerging Collective Runway featured looks by talented students from Box Hill Institute, FashionMasters, Holmesglen Institute, Kangan Institute and Whitehouse Institute of Design while the Emerging RMIT Runway showcased collections from students from RMIT University.

MSFW Emerging Student Designer Award

RMIT’s Stephanie Henly was awarded the 2016 Emerging Student Designer Award. Supported by the Council of Textile and Fashion, the award recognises four finalists and one outstanding winner from the MSFW 2016 Emerging Program.

Henly’s design career started at the age of six when she helped her grandmother make her Christmas day dress – a dress which she has kept to remind her of the pride and value she felt when she saw the finished product.

The Adelaide girl studied Fashion during her education at Immanuel College before moving to Melbourne’s RMIT University to complete her honours in Fashion Design.

So apparently this just happened?!?! Designer of the year what #msfw #Melbourne

A photo posted by Stephanie Henly (@stephanie_alyce) on

Henly’s award includes a 12 month mentorship program with the Council of Textile and Fashion; an internship with a leading Melbourne brand; inclusion in the MSFW 2017 Creative Collective Exhibition; as well as tickets to MSFW events.

Henly was visibly shocked when she was celebrated in front of her peers at the Emerging runway show tonight at Melbourne Town Hall and even took to the microphone to encourage her fellow students to continue following their passion.