Melbourne label Best Jumpers – known for fusing sporty minimalism, Japanese fabrics and Australiana vibes – picked up the National Designer Award at Melbourne Fashion Festival this week.

“It’s an amazing opportunity to take the brand to the next level, exposure-wise,” Best Jumpers director Dylan Best tells Broadsheet the morning after his win. “And on top of the trade aspect, as a designer it means a lot more recognition and confidence.”

The prestigious award, presented by David Jones, comes with a prize pool valued at $130,000. This includes: a cash payment of $20,000; the opportunity to create a capsule collection for David Jones; visual merchandising in the department store’s Bourke Street Mall window; marketing and media campaign inclusions; and an engraved trophy.

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Previous winners include names like Romance Was Born, Dion Lee and Toni Maticevski.

“Even just being part of the process has given us great exposure already,” says Best, who studied fashion at Parsons School of Design in New York and worked at Ralph Lauren before returning to Australia. “Meeting other designers and meeting different people within the industry has been awesome.”

Together with five other finalists, Best did a brand presentation for industry experts judging the award, showing off six key looks, plus his business and marketing plan, inspirations for the season and collection and past portfolio. It was “like Shark Tank, but make it fashion”, he says.

Still, it made him think a lot about his elevator pitch, and how to best explain a fashion ethos that combines elegant minimalism with “mate” slogans and bucket hats.

“What I say is Best Jumpers is elevated casual wear. Pretty minimal, unisex, menswear-inspired pieces. Sort of an eclectic take on Australiana and logos, which is what I've come from in my design background.”

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