Every year, the highly esteemed Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival is the centre of attention for all things fashion in Victoria, seeing crowds of industry moguls, fashionistas, and admirers alike gather for 10-days of innovation and excitement.
For what is set to be one of the festival's most unique runways - and a first at VAMFF - the MEL:BORN Menswear Runway will shine a light on Victoria's best up and coming menswear designers including MNDATORY, Chris Ran Lin, and Christian Kimber.
"VAMFF is an exciting and great opportunity to be recognised as a designer in Victoria," says Chris Ran Lin, one of three menswear designers chosen to represent their collections at the MEL:BORN menswear runway.
"It's a great initiative for young designers to showcase their designs to a Melbourne - and international - audience, and to be recognised for their contribution to the growing menswear scene in Australia."
Lin has grown his brand steadily since 2013, after studying a degree in Fashion & Design at Melbourne's RMIT.
Tapping into a niche market of designing premium men's shirting & knitwear, Lin's design philosophy is embodied by what has happened in the past, and what is being done in the present; blending traditional with the modern.
"My label celebrates sophisticated yet fashion-forward looks and colours, and is the only menswear label in the country who really focuses on exploring knitwear in new and inventive ways."
"I also only use Australian Merino Wool in designing my knitwear, which is a great way to celebrate what we [as a country] have on offer; it's an important story to tell."
A Menswear first
After swapping an optometry degree for one in design, Brian Huynh honed in on developing a solid understanding of fit, whilst enhancing his technical skills in cutting and pattern.
All to which has led to his brand, MNDATORY - a men's brand born from the idea that the modern man's wardrobe can be built around well-known themes and iconic garments, which over time, have become menswear standards.
"My brand is dedicated to the concept of merging contemporary ideas with classic silhouettes," explains Brian Huynh.
"All of our garments are meticulously cut to produce versatile classics, and are designed through the process of reworking traditional menswear. What results are garments that are refined, well-crafted and ultimately, MNDATORY."
MNDATORY is set to unveil its 'Chameleon AW19' at the MEL:BORN Menswear Runway, showcasing Huynh's deep knowledge of fabrics and materials to inform the design of a garment - that is, personifying fabrics to unravel their story through form.
"Showcasing our designs to key industry stakeholders from all over the world at VAMFF is a coveted prospect for any brand, particularly one that's looking to break into the global marketplace," explains Huynh.
"Chameleon AW19 will present a colour palette themed around South America and ancient Aztec culture, juxtaposed with classic silhouettes, whilst reinforcing our signature aesthetic through the use of highly tactile fabrication."
Huynh will also take the creative process one step further with Chameleon AW19, enabling customers to engage with the brand through a co-creation process; a first of its kind in the Australian menswear market.
"Bringing together MNDATORY's traditional offerings of ready-to-wear and made-to-measure, consumers will have the opportunity to customise and personalise any garment from the runway collection."
Shop the runway
As an added incentive to consumers attending VAMFF, 'Shop the Runway' will once again see designers and brands take part in an interactive shopping experience that allows guests of the runways to purchase, post-show, the looks that were shown.
MNDATORY however is going a step further, allowing for a fully customisable/made-to-measure experience for consumers when shopping the looks that were previewed on the runway.
"As consumer preferences increasingly shift toward individualism and personalisation, the Chameleon AW19 collection will introduce an innovative proposition that will allow consumers the opportunity to customise and personalise any garment from the runway collection," says Huynh.
"For each and every garment, customers can choose from a pre-selected range of fabrics, whilst also having the option to incorporate personalised embroidery."
VAMFF's MEL:BORN Menswear Runway will be held at the Royal Exhibition Building (Showroom II) on Tuesday 5 March at 6:00pm. Tickets can be purchased online.