Congratulations are in order! Designer Lesleigh Jermanus of ALÉMAIS has taken out the highly coveted 2022 National Designer Award, winning a cash prize of $120,000 and the opportunity to create an exclusive capsule collection for David Jones.
It was a fiercely competitive field, with E Nolan, CLEA, Beare Park, Joslin and BLANCA all vying for the prestigious prize. But ultimately, it was ALÉMAIS — a brand launched in August 2020 as a way to use the stock abandoned amid COVID-19 — that took out the award, in addition to also winning the People’s Choice Award.
“I was so humbled to be nominated for the National Designer Award,” Jermanus said earlier to being announced. “Winning this award would help us introduce ALÉMAIS and our ethos to a wider audience – to start a conversation and provide education on the processes and stories behind each garment, creating an emotional connection to our wardrobe and advocating for a less throw away approach.”
The label quickly became a favourite amongst the Australian fashion community, celebrated for its joyful prints (inspired by the natural world and travel), feminine silhouettes, and commitment to sustainability. It’s now stocked in more than 170 retailers in 26 countries worldwide.
“One of our proudest achievements since founding ALÉMAIS is being able to grow our Sydney-based team and nurture local talent,” Jermanus continued. “Initiatives such as the National Designer Award help emerging brands gain the platform and resources required to foster the next generation and invest in practices that will build a more sustainable industry for the future.”
ALÉMAIS Cleo Patchwork Shirtdress, $695, from David Jones
Joslin Studio’s Elinor McInnes was awarded the Honourable Mention for Sustainability, winning $10,000 prize and the opportunity to undertake a bespoke mentorship program with the sustainability team at David Jones. The prize pool for 2022 was a record $130,000.
Past winners of the National Designer Award — presented for its 26th year by the Melbourne Fashion Festival and David Jones — include COMMAS in 2021, ESSE in 2020, P.E Nation in 2018.
There’s no doubt ALÉMAIS is in good company; one to watch for sure.