Name an innovative Australian label to have risen to success during the last few years and chances are that it has, at some stage, been shortlisted for the L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival’s National Designer Award. Indeed, the award has come to be understood as a glimpse into the future of Australian fashion.

This year’s instalment is no different, with From Britten (Victoria), Kathryn Baker (Victoria), Livia Arena (Victoria), Lui Hon (Victoria) and Michael Lo Sordo (New South Wales) rounding out this year’s shortlisted finalists.

The award acknowledges designers who, in their first five years of business, have shown innovative design talent and the motivation necessary to succeed in a highly competitive industry. The finalists will personally present their work to a judging panel including 2012 National Designer Award winner Christopher Esber, LMFF chief executive officer Graeme Lewsey and Harper’s Bazaar fashion features editor Clare Maclean.

Aside from the cash prize, the prestige of joining the likes of past award recipients such as Dion Lee, Romance Was Born, Josh Goot, Toni Maticevski, Yeojin Bae and Song for the Mute is enough to catalyse a stellar career.

This year’s winner will be announced on March 20 in the midst of the LMFF festivities. We’re keeping our tips to ourselves for now.