Fashion week: the new brands to watch

Elyse Knowles wears Acler for Myer.

In case you hadn't realised, Australian labels are in hot demand. Just last week, actress Blake Lively posted a photo of herself in a new-season Zimmermann dress, while Meghan Markle may have helped save Oroton when she wore one of its bags, with a Camilla and Marc blazer no less, a couple of weeks back.

And in less than a week's time, all eyes will be on Australia, specifically Sydney, for Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia, where some of the country's top labels, as well as plenty of newbies, will show what they have in store for later in the year. Here are the brands to watch.


Powered by the Adelaide-based duo of Kathryn Forth and Julia Ritorto, the three-year-old brand has become a favourite of the Australian celebrity set, including Nadia Bartel. With a style credo typical of much more established labels, Acler's resort range will no doubt include feminine yet structural pieces, and a ruffle or two. More recently, the pair have focused on the brand's shirting, one of its best-performing categories. Other celebrity fans include Halle Berry and Hailey Baldwin.

Leo & Lin

If Alice in Wonderland became a stage musical, the characters would be wearing this Melbourne label, which launched in 2017. Ranging from workwear to evening gowns, each piece is created from luxury fabrics. The muse for the resort collection is "Ms Moonlight", so expect celestial-inspired pieces with possible hints of butterflies, signs of the zodiac in rich blues, pale pink, white and champagne.

Deadly Ponies

Sure, you can have your big-name bags but for quality and understated Kiwi style, this brand is built on a foundation of simple, timeless pieces. Its resort collection draws inspiration from "societies' religious devotion towards particular objects or people". The showstoppers are pieces that incorporate PVC and metallic leathers. Already available is a capsule collection of snakeskin-looking pieces, which are made from goat leather. Celebrity fans include Lara Worthington,  Lorde and NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.


With a fan base including Kaia Gerber, Bella Hadid, Emily Ratajkowski, Kourtney Kardashian and Selena Gomez, expect bold things from this fashion week debutante. The designers aren't giving much away ahead of their show but if social media is any guide, expect sexy pieces in faux leather and fur, with rock and moto-inspired touches. Not for shrinking violets.

Blair Archibald

Starting as a men's label, women have fallen for its soft tailoring with a sporty touch. The brand was nominated as one of the Australian winners of the Woolmark Prize, its entry including an old army blanket and recycled wool. This season's expanded range will "set the tone for what I have spent years perfecting. This collection highlights an entire body of work that demonstrates a design philosophy I will continue to maintain throughout my career."

Pereira Fitzgerald

Gabriella Pereira and Gemma Fitzgerald wanted to redefine luxury dressing for the modern Australian woman with pieces that evoke glamour with masculine underpinnings. Made in Sydney, the new collection is inspired by women in the designers' lives. "The intention [is] to not create 'everyday clothes' but rather to create those special pieces that you are excited to wear every day."

Mercedes Benz Fashion Week is from May 13-17.

Get the look

Blair Archibald, $320

I.AM.GIA, $120

Leo & Lin, $450

Deadly Ponies, $789

We Are Kindred, $389


Blair Archibald:


Deadly Ponies:

We Are Kindred:

Leo & Lin:

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