It’s little wonder that Sydney Institute TAFE’s The Innovators runway show is one of the most anticipated events of MBFWA. Over the years, the prestigious institution has schooled some of Australia’s most esteemed designers, with alumni including Akira Isogawa, Nicky Zimmerman, Dion Lee and, most recently, Emma Mulholland.

Mulholland, who was selected to show in last year’s fashion week, had her range picked up by a host of retailers immediately and has already become widely known in the industry for her playful designs. This is the show that the industry eagerly awaits to get a glimpse of the next big thing.

This year, six graduates have been chosen to show their collections and the line up is typically impressive. Kaylene Milner, Christopher Baldwin, Yuliy Gershinsky, Cynthia Thai, Stephanie Goerlach and Carlie Waterman will present their collections on Thursday as part of MBFWA. Broadsheet takes a look at two of our favourites.

Kaylene Milner
Having originally studied musicology at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Kaylene Milner decided to change paths and become a fashion designer after flipping through an issue of Vogue during a lecture. A few years down the track, and with a diploma in hand, Milner has produced a bold graduate collection that places attention on construction, texture and luxurious fabrics.

“The initial inspiration for my collection was based on various textures found in forests,” Milner explains. “But over the course of several months it evolved into a hybrid of references and associations.” Using numerous techniques including intricate leatherwork, wet felting, needle felting, knitting and weaving, Milner’s collection is an impressive show of craftsmanship.

After the rush of fashion week, Milner, who interned with Gary Bigeni during her time at SIT, will take off to New York as part of a $15,000 global mentorship prize through Fashion Future, where she will be undertaking a three-month internship with Diane von Furstenberg.

Milner hopes to launch her own label in a few years time.

Yuliy Gershinsky
It’s always exciting to be introduced to an emerging Australian menswear designer, given that, with the exception of a few labels, Australia is still relatively starved of fashion-forward menswear. So it’s great to see that men’s designer Yuliy Gershinsky’s has been included in this year’s The Innovators show.

Inspired by science fiction, Gershinsky’s AlephBet collection takes a modern, unfussy approach to menswear. The deceptively understated range focuses on wearability, where construction and innovative techniques are key. Fusing different fabrics, such as paper-thin linens and synthetics, the TAFE graduate says he was interested in exploring how technological progress affects humanity.

“The goal was to try illustrate the idea of a biological element bonding with something synthetic and how it would develop,” he explains. “I have also always been drawn to science fiction and adventure, and I used to be obsessed with drawing and designing space ships and space suits from as long ago as I can remember.”

And what’s next for the designer after the buzz of the show? “Ideally to work on a number of different projects, both art and fashion-based, but also to develop my own label,” he says.

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