Australian born. Here at RUSSH, supporting homegrown talent is always a priority. From fresh-faced new kids on the block, to iconic powerhouses and those designers with decades of experience under their belt, each creative master of Australian fashion has forged a brand with a distinctive style and a unique vision – cementing themselves on our local shores and around the world.
While everyone will have their own answer for what makes Australian fashion, our lifestyle is a uniting factor. For some designers this laidback sensibility translates into perfectly executed resort wear, others take down-to-earth to mean sustainable practices, transparency, quality and enduring garments. Either way, our homegrown talent know how to nail it, every single time.
From the internationally acclaimed Dion Lee, Ellery and Christopher Esber, to the fresher faces of Jordan Dalah, Albus Lumen and Alix Higgins, these are just a few of our favourite brands and designers who make clothes feel like home.
Read on for our list for the 44 Australian fashion designers you should know.
Hailing from Sydney, Dion Lee established his eponymous label in 2009 after debuting at Australian Fashion Week. Now a cult brand for many on home soil and in New York City where he recently opened his new flagship, Dion Lee is renowned for traditional and sharp tailoring combined with experimental and innovative construction, forming architectural silhouettes and sculptural embellishments. Technical meets sensual, club kid meets elevated tailoring. This is the Dion Lee signature aesthetic.
The magic of Jordan Dalah has long been felt by the team at RUSSH. His marriage of the sublime and the mundane is one we'd like to attend, every, single, time. Some will call it mock Tudor, even the designer himself, and it will be clear to all that Rei Kawakubo is his dream woman, but the power of Dalah is that he is charting a new way forward for Australian fashion, one not so concerned with sunseeker lifestyles but reaching dazzling new heights.
Fashion as wearable art. For nearly two decades, Melbourne based Toni Maticevski has been dressing the female form with his unique approach to design and craft. With a signature manipulation of cloth as sculpture, along with artful and luxurious silhouettes, Maticevski designs those special occasion pieces for the modern wardrobe that many dream of wearing. Modern, architectural, and directional, for those looking to add structure to their wardrobes, there is no one more fit for the task than Maticevski himself.
From cult celebrities to even iconic Bond girls, the Michael lo Sordo woman is one that is always event ready. Signature slinky silhouettes, party dresses, sensual skin moments and added sparkle, there’s an elevated piece for every special occasion. Dress for the night in his signature plunge neck dresses, scoop back silks and ostrich feather moments. It's hard to turn a blind eye to a Lo Sordo piece.
Christopher Esber has been radiating a quiet confidence season after season since launching his eponymous brand in 2010. For 10 years, Esber has been designing sensual, fluid, sophisticated, laid back and well-tailored pieces to wear forever and ever – a luxurious, yet easy-to-wear approach. In the words of Esber himself, “tailoring, shirting, embellishment and leather.” All the good things wrapped in one. With darlingly low 90s hemlines and exposed torsos, the Esber girl does pared back sexiness perfectly.
Combining both the polished and playful aspects of a woman’s wardrobe. Ginger & Smart was founded in 2002 by Sydney-based Australian fashion designers and sisters Alexandra and Genevieve Smart. Designing spirited collections with distinctive style, noted in the bright clashes of colour, signature graphic prints, sustainable materials, feminine tailored workwear, off-duty staples and statement special occasion pieces. Unique, with an added artistic quirk.
7. Alex Perry
The special-occasion statement-party pieces that make you wish for any event on your social calendar. Alex Perry debuted his namesake label in the 90s, successfully establishing himself as a powerhouse of Australian and international fashion. From beautifully constructed gowns and corsets, sleek tailoring, decadent evening wear, strong silhouettes, luxurious fabrications and sparkle moments, an Alex Perry look is one that is popular among many celebrities, socialites and powerful personalities. Our in-house couturier never fails to bring both sleek silhouettes and dramatic executions to the Australian market.
8. Albus Lumen
For days gone by vacationing in the Mediterranean and escaping for a blissful European summer. Albus Lumen is lightweight and minimal in style, powerfully feminine and beautifully crafted. Simple and relaxed shapes form timeless and modern resort wear and highly coveted accessories. A breath of fresh air for warm weather dreaming, we'll be clad in Albus Lumen all summer long from beach, to bar, to wedding venue.
9. Anna Quan
Designer Anna Huong has created an aesthetic that is both peaceful and calming. Refined tailoring and minimal silhouettes complete timeless and ultra-wearable pieces. Cult favourites includes classic white shirting and sleek, powerful suiting and short sets. Sophisticated yet approachable style with an unpretentious, easy-going edge, Anna Quan walks the line between playful and purposeful with her long lines and feminine details.
Luxurious womenswear with an avant-garde aesthetic. Designer Kym Ellery creates clothing that is instantly recognisable, synonymous with her signatures ranging from architectural and bold silhouettes, voluminous and billowing shapes, masculine tailoring, innovative fabrications, masterful cuts and unexpected details. Artistic inspirations with a decadent approach give Ellery an undisputed edge for those looking for a point of difference.
11. R.M. Williams
Over nine incredible decades of existence since 1932, R.M.Williams is one of the most loyally loved and quintessentially Australian footwear brands in the world. Originally made for the rugged and unforgiving Australian outback, their iconic leather boots are an institution and right of passage for every Australian wearer. Better with age and built to last, R.W.Williams also offers everyday wear apparel and accessories to complete. From farmers to fashion folk alike, one thing we indisputably have in common, is our love for an R.M Williams boot.
12. Alix Higgins
Bind me in Alix Higgins and fling me onto the dance floor! Inspired by the internet and queer codes, Higgins' pieces are a form of visual poetry. Literally. Brandished across lycra bike shorts and one-sleeved tops are sunsets, horizontal lines and cyber-font text in varying sizes. If there's one thing you need to know about Alix Higgins, it's that the label should rise to the top of your list of Australian fashion designers to know.
Bohemian Rhapsody. Sisters Nicky and Simone Zimmermann founded their namesake brand in Sydney in 1991, soon becoming an Australian icon. Fusing ready-to-wear fashion with swimwear and resort, each collection is beautifully feminine, intricately detailed and sweetly sophisticated with a passion and love for colours and print. Signature frills, delicate lace, tiered layers, feminine silhouettes and prints all for the taking. Transport yourself to the flower-child era with Zimmermann's instantly recognisable pieces.
14. Camilla and Marc
Combining their skills of business and design, Camilla and Marc was established by siblings Camilla Freeman-Topper and Marc Freeman in 2003. Renowned for timeless, modern and well-tailored pieces with an unexpected edge, Camilla and Marc fuses rich fabrications with a subtle femininity, along with androgynous shapes and silhouettes. Forever revering high-end design and construction to create sophisticated statement and effortlessly wearable wardrobe pieces. They have also recently expanded their offering to include activewear pieces for a one-stop-shop wardobe.
Australia’s eco-warrior and face of the fashion future. Australian fashion designer Kit Willow is a true pioneer in design-led, sustainable and ethical fashion. Having launched KITX 5 years ago in 2015, Willow wanted to pursue her love of creation, fused with her passion for nature. From master drapery, signature cut dresses, edgy prints and colour fusions – these are the quality pieces created with a conscious mind. Explore your artistic side with geometric shapes and sustainable fabrications.
16. Lee Matthews
If designer Lee Mathews, founder of her eponymous brand had to choose one wardrobe philosophy to stand by, she says, “it would be to design clothes that resonate deeply with people’s lives, clothes that are functional and beautiful, that are ageless and simple and that you can throw in a bag and travel the world”. Experimenting with each new collection, Mathews finds inspiration in the abstract, from painterly colours, textures and patterns, along with art and architecture, and forever driven by craftsmanship. A creative eye that feels quintessentially Australian, Matthews' feminine offering is instantly recognizable with expert pleating, feather-light fabrications, and magical prints.
Founded by best friends Adrian Norris and Edwina Forest, Aje has carried contemporary beauty to Australian fashion since 2008. Forever pioneers of the coastal to urban lifestyle, the womenswear brand is dedicated to raw beauty, tough femininity and an effortlessly cool style. An Aje piece carries with it a unique signature, incorporating artful inspirations with luxurious sensibilities. A curated harmony of effortless essential garments and statement occasion pieces.
18. Romance Was Born
Renowned Australian fashion designers Anna Plunkett and Luke Sales established their unique and incomparable fashion house in 2005. Providing us with the glittering, extravagant and theatrical collections that have become synonymous with the Romance Was Born signature. From incredible statement pieces, covetable prints, magnificent colour, intricate beading and heavily detailed sequinned elements, it’s the perfect fusion between fashion, art and creative dreaming. Camp never looked so good with a commitment to imbuing magic in all that they create, from intricate beading to the use of vintage fabrics, creating a special and unique offering every time.
Designer Camilla Franks conceptualised her namesake label 15 years ago in Sydney’s iconic Bondi Beach. Forever encapsulating a vibrant and bespoke bohemian lifestyle, Camilla finds inspiration for her collections through the art of travel. Immersing herself into worlds unknown, each Camilla piece is hand-cut, with signature prints and beading, meticulous placement detail and artisan craftsmanship. Heart and soul. You'll recognise the Camilla woman a mile away in a fluid, breezy silhouette that plays with colour and patterns.
20. Bec & Bridge
Founded in 2003 by inseparable friends Becky Cooper and Bridget Yorston, Bec & Bridge is the cult womenswear brand with international acclaim helmed by two inspiring Australian fashion designers. Worn by IT girls the world over, a Bec & Bridge dress has been known to sell out within minutes. Designing collections for fun, spirited and confident women, pieces range from signature party dresses, alluring sets, sensual skin and even bridal edits. A celebration of fun, free-spirited, youthful and Australian born style. All wrapped up in the perfect part dress.
21. Alice McCall
An ode to the playful and uniquely feminine. Since launching at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia in 2004, Alice McCall has become a global brand, a popular feast among many international high-profile celebrities. Signature craft has always been at the core, with intricate detailing, hand embroidery, in-house designed laces and an experimentation of colour and fabric techniques. Whimsical, bohemian and unmistakably Alice McCall, the feminine and flirty silhouettes that give the brand its signature codes are as strong as ever.
Sister duo Beth and Tessa Macgraw launched their eponymous label in 2012, creating unique and detail-oriented pieces with beautiful fabrications and wearable designs. A signature fresh take on femininity and free-spirited opulence, a Macgraw silhouette is synonymous with baby-doll shapes, puff sleeves, tiered layers, bow detailing and original artwork hand-drawn prints. A fantasy world you'll want to be a part of with its victorian necklines and whimsical silhouettes.
Much-loved Australian brand SIR. draws on the natural realm to imbue its collections with authenticity and energy. Find a mix of vintage-inspired prints, along with silks, myriad dresses that can stretch from day to evening, classic silhouettes and the perfect piece for any party.
Australian fashion is an industry is uniquely tied to its surrounds, a market inspired by the unworldly beauty of our environment. This rings especially true for bassike. As far as slouchy, cotton-jersey staples go, no one does it better than Bassike. Nor do they make them as ethically and environmentally conscious either.
25. St. Agni
From its small-town Byron Bay origins to its evolution into a cult, industry darling, it's been a big few years for St. Agni. Helmed by Australian fashion designers and husband-and-wife duo Matt and Lara Fells, a St Agni piece is one that is truly timeless, that can be worn again and again, a fail safe purchase. Clean, streamlined shapes wash through each collection, and are perfectly paired with any wardrobe. If it's minimalism you're looking for, St. Agni have it in spades.
For wearers of style and substance look no further. Arnsdorf relaunched in 2016 with the key tenets of sustainability stapled to its core. In 2019 they became one of the first Australian fashion designers to achieve B Corp Certification and as such all who are curious can find a breakdown of who made each garment, from designer to machinist, alongside the transparent costings of each piece. Arnsdorf don't skimp on style either, find quality wardrobe staples here, from trousers, suiting and the most divine outerwear.
When your sartorial tastes point toward home, Matin should be your first port of call. Not just for its considered approach to tailoring, nor the resolutions it provides for Australia's unique leisure-forward way of life, but because it bolsters our own garment industry by making each item in Sydney.
28. Beare Park
Having launched at Afterpay Australian Fashion Week in 2021, Beare Park is known for its bold, elegant silhouettes and considered approach to design. Quality fabrics are sourced from the finest mills in Italy and Japan, with the brand championing inclusivity through their designs and campaigns.
29. Jordan Gogos
Awash with colour and engulfed in aestheticism of the eclectic, Jordan Gogos is a multi-disciplinary artist whose debut at 2021 Afterpay Australian Fashion Week showcased a collaboration with 25 different artists and brands including Albus Lumen and Qurated. Pieces are considered wearable art, known for their bold colouring, experimental silhouettes and energising presence.
30. Common Hours
Founded by Amber Symond, Common Hours began with intricate, luxurious robes and gradually progressed into evening wear evoking a sense of power and strength. The brand commonly employs French lurex, Italian silks and organic cotton in the construction process of garments, designed to last.
31. Jillian Boustred
Jillian Boustred's eponymous brand embodies the ethos of slow fashion and a less-is-more approach to dressing. With all garments – except knitwear styles – made in Australia, each piece has been considerately designed to become a wardrobe staple or pulled out for many events ahead. Think: Tailored shirts and trousers, alongside structured linen dresses and skirts.
Underscoring the Matteau brand is a commitment to simplicity and refined design. Styles are created to last a lifetime, bucking current trends and manufactured with integrity by Australian craftsmen. The style of the brand embodies the Australian sensibility, a laid-back brand for a laid-back lifestyle.
33. Rebecca Vallance
Launched in 2011, Rebecca Vallance showed her first collection in Paris. From there, her business began to flourish and has since become an emblem of Australian style on a global scale. Best known for her evening wear, pieces flirt with trends while still keeping a timeless nature to their make.
34. Joslin Studio
A minimalistic, Melbourne-based brand Joslin Studio was founded in 2018 by Elinor McInnes underpinned by romantic, resort-inspired pieces. The philosophy behind every piece centres on sustainable practices in the pursuit of creating seasonless collections crafted with natural fabric and materials.
35. Bianca Spender
Bianca Spender continues to be one of the most well known Australian fashion designers, crafting tailored pieces made to last designed to accentuate the female form. Every garment is thoroughly considered, with pieces known for being refined, timeless staples to seamlessly fit in every wardrobe.
Founded in 2009 by Johnny Schembri, the brand has grown from humble beginnings as a market stall in Sydney to a go-to evening and event wear designer known across Australia. Drawing on design concepts from past and present, the brand reworks traditional silhouettes with a contemporary edge.
37. Lucy Folk
A nomadic lifestyle brand inspired by travel, Lucy Folk launched her eponymous label with those who seek the unconventional in mind. The brand are known for carrying an all-encompassing selection of jewellery, Italian-made eyewear and accessories alongside darling resort styles designed to be transeasonal.
The brainchild of Tarek Kourhani, a designer whose resume is crammed with names like Romance Was Born, Victoria Beckham, The Row and Erdem. After 17 years in the industry, Kourhani fostered his own genderless label in the throes of the pandemic, one that prioritises humour, sensuality and functionality, and at the time of writing is less than a year old. Still, his designs have been worn by everyone from Mana Mackay to Pip Edwards to Sean Brady to Elodie Russell and counting. Not bad for a newborn?
39. ESSE Studios
Helmed by Charlotte Hicks, ESSE debuted at AAFW 2022 to much applause. In a world where designers preach sustainability but don't always follow up with their practices, an eyeful of the designs are a refreshing sorbet. Rather than mirroring the seasons, Hicks has created ESSE Editions, a biannual launch of future classics – wardrobe staples with longevity in mind. Think The Row but local.
40. Caroline Reznik
We've witnessed balletcore come to the fore, and designer Caroline Reznik is a person who understands the category intimately. A former professional dancer, when Reznik retired she followed the footsteps of her mother, also an ex ballerina who pivoted to a career as costumier for the Australian ballet. After a stint at Whitehouse Institute of Design and later, the University of Technology, Sydney, Reznik founded her own eponymous label, creating textured bodysuits and skin-baring pieces that have caught the attention of Doja Cat, Kendall Jenner and Rosalía to name a few.
41. Madre Natura
It's all in the name. Handcrafted in Sydney, Madre Natura is a champion of slow fashion and believes we should be making intentional choices that take into account the label's four values: sustainability, ethical, circular and slow fashion. To reduce waste, Madre Natura create only small runs, with most pieces made to order.
41. Maroske Peech
Made in Melbourne, Maroske Peech is one of the new guard redefining Australian fashion and stretching the limits of what it could be. It carries an undeniable ballet-aesthetic; one that is built for performance. From arm warmers, velour leotards and asymmetrical tanks to lavender bike shorts with dangling straps made to be wrapped around the calf – these are clothes made for the dance floor and above all, fun.
By now you would have witnessed the absolute frenzy that follows when Daisy Ltd. release a new collection. Previously worn by Bella Hadid, Kendall Jenner and Lily-Rose Depp, Renee and Gibson Fox have the midas touch when it comes to designing pieces most likely to go viral. It's sexy and goth, a place of respite from linen dresses with floral prints.
What's old is new again. Niamh Galea has tapped our nostalgia for velour, thongs and all things racy in her label Ramp Tramp Tramp Stamp. Although this time around, the rise of early-aughts styles doesn't come at the exclusion of some over others. Then there's the fact that every piece is made lovingly in Australia. We've been eyeing off the signature baby tees forever.
Melbourne is quickly becoming a hub for locally made labels, and Friends with Frank is another jewel to the city's crown. Dreamt up in 2012, Friends with Frank labours over a simple premise, that a great wardrobe is built on good quality staples that stand the test of time. It's quality over quantity, be it with paired-back silhouettes and gentle, wearable colour palettes. The winter coats are to die for.
Image credits: @dionlee and @dionlee; @alicemccallptyltd and @alicemccallptyltd; @toni_maticevski and @toni_maticevski; @michaellosordo; @christopher_esber and @christopher_esber; @gingerandsmart and @gingerandsmart; @alexperryofficial and @alexperryofficial; @albuslumen and @albuslumen; @annaquanlabel and @annaquanlabel; @elleryland and @elleryland; @r.m.williams_official and @r.m.williams_official; @macgrawlove and @macgrawlove; @zimmermann and @zimmermann; @camillaandmarc and @camilla@marc; @kitx and @kitx; @leemathewsau and @leematthewsau; @_aje_ and @_aje_; @romancewasborn; @camillawithlove and @camillawithlove; @becandbridge and @becandbridge. @bearepark, @iordanesspyridongogos; @commonhoursofficial; @jillianboustred; @matteau; @rebeccavallance and @rebeccavallance; @biancaspender and @biancaspender; @by_johnny and @by_johnny; @lucy_folk; @kourh.co and @khour.co; @esse.studios and @essie.studios; @carolinereznik and @carolinereznik; @themadrenatura and @themadrenatura; @maroskepeech and @maroskepeech