DHL, the world's leading logistics company, has revealed the finalists of its career-changing DHL Express Fashion Export Scholarship, bringing three up-and-coming Australian designers a step closer to winning the opportunity to chase their dreams of global success.
The final three labels –By Johnny, Christopher Esber and Viktoria + Woods –were selected due to their impressive success in the domestic market to date, design aesthetics, potential to appeal to an international audience and solid strategies around international expansion and exporting.
The three finalists are vying for AU$10,000 worth of international freight, a DHL Express mentorship to supercharge their export strategy and mentoring from IMG. Following on from the launch of the DHL Exported competition in 2014, the winner will also have the opportunity to attend New York Fashion Week and, while they are there, meet with an international buyer.
The job of reviewing this year's entrants' look books and credentials fell to an esteemed panel of judges including Emily Weight, Director, Strategy and Brand Development, IMG Fashion Australia; Prue Lewington, Sunday Telegraph Fashion Editor; and Jamila Dlala, National Group Sales Manager at DHL Express.
Emily Weight said, 'With twice the number of applications from last year, many of them from prominent labels, narrowing down the finalists to just three was a difficult task. It is fantastic to see so many talented Australian designers readying their businesses to expand globally via the opportunities the DHL Express Fashion Export Scholarship provides. The three finalists have done more than just design beautiful collections; they have clear international expansion plans and a business strategy ready to take them global."
Gary Edstein, Senior Vice President of DHL Express Oceania, said the company is proud of its commitment to the fashion industry: 'As experts in logistics worldwide, we can see that our 2015 DHL Express Fashion Export Scholarship finalists have enormous export potential and we are excited to provide a launch platform for these up-and-coming Australian brands. The business of fashion can be challenging and we're pleased to be able to help talented designers in their quest to reach an international audience." Locally, the DHL Express Fashion Export Scholarship focuses on supporting up and coming Australian designers. Previous winners include Michael Lo Sordo, KAHLO, Haryono Setiadi, We Are Handsome and Bec & Bridge, who have each successfully utilised the Scholarship prize to help catapult their business overseas. Page 2 of 3 Locally, the DHL Express Fashion Export Scholarship focuses on supporting up and coming Australian designers. Previous winners include Michael Lo Sordo, KAHLO, Haryono Setiadi, We Are Handsome and Bec & Bridge, who have each successfully utilised the Scholarship prize to help catapult their business overseas.
Locally, the DHL Express Fashion Export Scholarship focuses on supporting up and coming Australian designers. Previous winners include Michael Lo Sordo, KAHLO, Haryono Setiadi, We Are Handsome and Bec & Bridge, who have each successfully utilised the Scholarship prize to help catapult their business overseas.
The winner will be announced on 29 June, 2015. For more information, please visit www.dhl.com.
Viktoria + Woods is a partnership between Maggie Woods and Lisa Reynolds that has brought them great success in the Australian market since launching in 2005. With over 70 Australian stockists, including David Jones, Designer Forum, and Tuchuzy, and a range of international stockists such as Frockaholics and Revolve Clothing, the label has fans everywhere.
Earlier this year they produced a capsule collection in collaboration with Lindy Klim, which was released in tandem with their show at Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival (VAMFF).
Question: What would it mean to win the 2015 DHL Express Fashion Export Scholarship?
Maggie Woods and Lisa Reynolds: We have only just began our journey into overseas markets. In particular the US. There is so much to learn and understand about the process and how each market operates. We have been lucky to receive advice from so many colleagues in the industry which have helped us along the way. The added mentoring and support that the DHL Fashion Scholarship provides is invaluable to us, and hopefully will help us minimise mistakes, understand the regulations and expectations of each market we enter. I think this will help us make informed business decisions, and hopefully that professional insight will add value to our product and designs.
Question: How has being a finalist already helped your brand?
Maggie Woods and Lisa Reynolds: We have already been approached by numerous people in the industry congratulating us and offering support and opportunities to further build our brand locally and overseas. In such a short space of time, that has been amazing.
Question: What inspired the name, Viktoria + Woods?
Maggie Woods and Lisa Reynolds: It was named after the original founders of the brand, (myself) Margie Woods and my original partner. Lisa Reynolds replaced Viktoria in 2011 as co director, but we decided to retain the name due the reputation built form inception.
Question: How would you describe the brand in five words?
Maggie Woods and Lisa Reynolds: Effortless, luxurious and timeless, modern, and sporty…and feminine (6 words)
Question: When designing, where do you draw inspiration?
Maggie Woods and Lisa Reynolds: It's always changing, but there is always a common thread in each collection. If is always a reflection of a an effortless and modern Australian lifestyle. We travel a lot for work and play and spend a lot of time at the beach with family and friends. It's those moments that inspire us the most.
Question: What are your fashion staples?
Maggie Woods and Lisa Reynolds: A silk or cotton shirt, layered under a luxurious chunky wool knit, balanced with a wool / cashemere coat or a well tailored blazer. Usually paired back with a crisp white Lacoste sneaker. That's pretty much the daily uniform for all of us at the V+W studio.
Question: What are your top tips for staying stylish in this freezing weather?
Maggie Woods and Lisa Reynolds: Winter is my favourite season. It's when you can really explore your wardrobe and layer all the different textiles such as wool, silks, and cottons. I also love nothing more than wearing a long grey or navy coat with a pair of sneakers. Effortless luxury.
Question: Who do you hope to see in Viktoria + Woods this year?
Maggie Woods and Lisa Reynolds: We have already had the pleasure of seeing Cate Blanchett head to toe in our designs and that was an incredible moment. Perhaps Olivia Palermo, Christine Centenera, Caroline De Maigret and Rose Byrne. Any of these women would be amazing!
Question: What's your first memory of fashion?
Lisa Reynolds: Mum has always been a little bit crafty and very much an inspiration. Even to this day she will fly over and help us out with last minute fix ups. Usually this is prior to a collection photoshoot. She is great with the more complex cable knits that might need fine tuning.
Maggie Woods: It's always been a part of my life. My mother has always loved fashion, and was designing her own clothes before I was born. Usually with the help of a dressmaker. She is still to this day very passionate about how she dresses and how fashion makes her feel.
Question: What's next for the brand?
Maggie Woods and Lisa Reynolds: Aside from our foray into international markets and our pinch your self moment when our collection hits Bloomingdales in August, we are looking to open more retail stores and build on that connection with customers.