COMMAS Wins the MFF National Designer Award

Live from the Melbourne Fashion Festival and presented by David Jones, resort wear label on the rise, COMMAS, takes home the National Designer Award and the Honourable Mention for Sustainability in 2021.

Richard and Emma Jarman, Creative Directors of COMMAS

As Australia’s longest-running fashion event, the Melbourne Fashion Festival has been showcasing and celebrating the nations most talented emerging designers since 1996. Now in its 25th year, the highly acclaimed National Designer Award, presented by David Jones is Australian fashion’s most established and prestigious young designer award, forming part of the Festival’s Industry Development program which also includes the National Graduate Showcase, Fashion Film Award and Fashion Writing Award.

With now more than ever being the time to support local and emerging designers, the coveted National Designer Award not only showcases and celebrates Australia’s fashion’s rising stars but provides an invaluable platform for designer evolution with a business development prize pack, mentorship, networking and critical industry exposure to help shape the next phase of their career. 

Custom engraved trophies by Georg Jensen

Luxury swim and resortwear by COMMAS

Propelling the development of some of Australia’s best designers including ESSE (2020), P.E Nation (2018), STRATEAS.CARLUCCI (2014), Dion Lee (2010), Romance Was Born (2009) and Toni Maticevski (2002), The National Designer Award plays a crucial role in shaping our industry and giving Australian fashion a voice on the world stage.

Yesterday, Australian fashion industry leaders came together in search of up and coming designers with a unique vision and the potential to contribute to the future growth of the Australian fashion industry. This years judging panel was led by CEO of the Melbourne Fashion Festival, Graeme Lewsey, Creative Director of Vogue Australia, Jillian Davison, General Manager of Womenswear, Footwear and Accessories at David Jones, Bridget Veals, General Manager of Menswear, Childrenswear, Home and AV at David Jones, Chris Wilson, Editor of Melbourne Fashion Festival Shop the Runway® magazine, Emily Taylor, and Gary Theodore of Scanlan Theodore. Alongside the judges, Eloise Bishop, Head of Sustainability at David Jones, was the Advisor for the Honourable Mention for Sustainability.

L – R, Graeme Lewsey, Chris Wilson, Richard and Emma Jarman, Jillian Davison, Bridget Veals, Eloise Bishop, Gary Theodore.

Awarded at an exclusive industry event at Melbourne’s Half Acre, Sydney based COMMAS took out both awards on offer, wowing the judges with their functional, less is more philosophy. Having founded the label in 2017, Creative Director Richard and Emma Jarman looked to the brand’s name as a way to encourage life’s necessary pauses, hoping to serve as a reminder to catch your breath and take pleasure in the moment.

“From day one when we were given the opportunity to work with recycled fabrics across swimwear, it was a no brainer. From there, each season has been working out how we can extend that.”

Richard Jarman, Creative Diretcor of COMMAS

With an approach that centres around offering seasonless, high-quality pieces in clean and classic silhouettes, COMMAS works to create a complete resort wardrobe, offering collections that have a unique and modern sensibility. From the tie-front swim shorts and lightweight camp collar shirting to the loose linen lounge pants and the coveted Italian robes, each piece is designed in Australia with the ambition of becoming a truly circular fashion label.

The winning collection
High quality pieces in clean and classic silhouettes

Presented by David Jones, COMMAS will receive a significant business development prize pack designed to assist the label’s ongoing development and growth including a cash prize of $10,000, marketing support and editorial showcase opportunities and will feature their designs alongside the best of Australian and international designers at the all-new Gala Runway presented by David Jones on Thursday 11 March 2021 at the National Gallery of Victoria.

To further support the designer’s journey, the David Jones merchandise team will again collaborate with the winner in the conception and development of a capsule collection to be ranged across David Jones stores, a highly valuable initiative launched in 2020.

The finalists of the National Designer Award

In good company with fellow finalists E Nolan, LeoPhil, Holiday the Label, MAARA Collective, and Autark, it looks like Australia’s fashion future is in good hands.

See the COMMAS window installation in-store at Bourke Street Mall for a limited time, plus join us in-store across Friday 12th and Saturday 13th March to celebrate Melbourne Fashion Festival – Fashion Weekend. Visit our What’s On page for more information.