The Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival has announced P.E Nation as the winner of the esteemed National Designer Award. The National Designer Award, now in its 22nd year – and presented by David Jones – is Australia’s most prestigious fashion award. It celebrates and supports the future of Australian fashion by acknowledging designers in their first five years of business; designers who excel in creative design, fashion innovation, manufacturing standards, unique style, sustainability and the potential to contribute to the growth of Australian fashion.

To win the National Designer Award marks a turning point in a designer’s career; past winners include MacGraw, Toni Maticevski, Yeojin Bae, STRATEAS.CARLUCCI, Dion Lee and Romance Was Born. Of the award, P.E Nation Co-Founder and Creative Director, Claire Tregoning said: “It’s a huge honour to win this award. The opportunities it will give us are substantial and we hope to further push our growing brand into the US market”. “The past year has been about business growth,” added Pip Edwards, Co-Founder and Creative Director. “Going from a start up to a fullyfledged business. Winning this award will allow us to continue this momentum and widen our customer base across the world.”

The five 2018 finalists vying for the $100,000+ prize pool were Chris Ran Lin (VIC), Third Form (NSW), AMXANDER (VIC), P.E. Nation (NSW) and MNDATORY (VIC). The judging panel, led by Festival CEO Graeme Lewsey, included fashion heavy-hitters and icons of the industry – people who know what it takes to succeed in Australia and internationally: Teneille Oakley, Buying Manager, Womenswear for David Jones, celebrated designer Carla Zampatti, Editor in Chief Harper’s BAZAAR Australia, Kellie Hush and last year’s National Designer Award winner, Kacey Devlin of KACEY/ DEVLIN.

Festival CEO Graeme Lewsey said: “It seems as though every year the talent – and the stakes – get higher and higher; this year we received more than double the number of applications for the National Designer Award than we received last year, and the most menswear designer applications in the award’s history. It bodes well for the future of Australian fashion.”

“We recognise the tenacity, talent and hard work demonstrated by Pip and Claire shone through. The designers have demonstrated a captivating journey to PE Nation’s current emerging position in the Australian fashion landscape, and its capability and capacity internationally is extraordinary, well deserved and definitely worth celebrating”, Lewsey concluded.

Teneille Oakley, Buying Manager, Womenswear for David Jones, said: “David Jones is a proud supporter of Australian fashion and we’re thrilled to be a presenting partner – now in our second year – of this important award. David Jones has stores Australia-wide so it was heartening to see applications from emerging designers all over the country; 56% from Victoria, 30% from New South Wales and the remaining 14% from Queensland, South Australia and the ACT.”

This year’s winner receives a high value business development prize pack including a cash payment of $15,000, inclusion in Gala Runway presented by David Jones at VAMFF, a bespoke keepsake trophy created by Georg Jensen, return international flights with Virgin Australia, look book styling from Harper’s BAZAAR, business and financial advisory services and more.

Source: VAMFF