WORDS: Summer Brown PHOTOGRAPHY Tito Media

Celebrating sustainability and innovation in fashion

The Gold Coast fashion world has just witnessed an extraordinary showcase of talent as Rise to the Runway presented its highly anticipated Fashion Design awards for 2023. Now in its second year, the annual competition rolled out the red carpet for Australia’s emerging fashion industry. With an unwavering focus on providing a platform for students and emerging designers, this event is rapidly gaining recognition nationwide, attracting entrants from across the country.

Rise to the Runway is a dynamic competition with a mission to empower and elevate the next generation of fashion professionals. Proudly showcasing indigenous talent and stepping outside of social norms, this event is a celebration of inclusivity, innovation, and creativity.

This year’s event was fiercely competitive, showcasing the best and brightest new fashion designers from across Australia. These emerging talents presented their labels to a panel of six esteemed judges in a range of exciting categories, all vying for the prestigious title of Rise to the Runway, Emerging Fashion Designer of the Year.

Fashion Royalty Mr Peter Craig of Kerri Craig Emporium was on hand to impart his decades of fashion wisdom to the young fashion competitors and to present the trophies to the overall winners of the evening.

Tayla McFarlane dominated the night winning 3 category awards and taking home the Student Designer of the Year.

Teddy McRitchie was awarded Emerging Designer of the Year and Julie Valetic walked away with the Rising Star Award.

“We are thrilled with the growth of Rise to the Runway to be already attracting designers from interstate in only our second year. It is a real testament to the reputation we have built and the need for an event like this for our next generation of creatives” said Summer Brown, Founder of Rise to the Runway

Rise to the Runway will be back in August 2024 and is taking expressions of interest now. Call Summer Brown at 0451 115 469, [email protected] or check us out on Instagram @risetotherunway_official


Why Rise to the Runway?

It is a platform to showcase emerging fashion designers, launch indigenous talent, promote diversity, encourage sustainability, and embrace tech-integrated fashion.

This event serves as a launchpad for young designers to debut their brands, build vital career pathways and gain industry-related further opportunities. To complement our focus on building pathways we provide real industry experience through our mentorship and internship programs offering opportunities for students in the creative industries to join our team as runway makeup artists, hair stylists, event coordinators, stylists and marketers.



Student Designer of the Year 2023 – Tayla McFarlane (label 7Roses)


Tayla pictured with her Student Designer of the Year Trophy and her winning “Ethical Bridal” Category design and Model Chelsea Mayer

Emerging Designer of the Year 2023 – Teddy McRitchie ( Label Teddy McRitchy Designs)

Teddy McRitchie pictured above with his trophies for winner Wearable Art Category and Winner Emerging Designer of the year 2023 pictured with Winning Wearable Art entry modelled by Ellie Sabato below.

Rising Star of the Year 2023 – Julie Jaise (label House of Jaise) 

Julie’s winning design in the Reinvented Streetwear Category modelled by Ranti Zapart


First Nations Designs

Australia is unique in its First Nations people, ancient culture and diverse art. Indigenous designers have exclusive and unique fabrics, prints and storytelling inspired by their homeland.

Designs in this category have all been made by the students at QUT who worked in collaboration with HOPE VALE CULTURAL CENTRE in North Queensland. Every garment has been made from fabrics that were lovingly hand-painted by prominent Aboriginal artists.


Winner:  Eris Chen 

Winning First Nations Design by  Eris Chen modelled by Roxanne O’Dea

Runner Up: Nathalie Corondo Crisp

Runner-up First Nations Design by Nathalie Corondo Crisp modelled by Ida Saraswati

Reinvented Streetwear 

The Reinvented Streetwear category embraces the global movement that is revolutionising the urban fashion landscape, where designs make a positive impact on the environment and inspire a more responsible fashion industry.

Designers were asked to showcase their creative brilliance while championing sustainable and ethical fashion practices by crafting an edgy streetwear look, using sustainable fabrics or upcycling and reinventing preloved clothing.


Winner:  Julie Jaise

Winner Reinvented Streetwear design by Julie Jaise modelled by Ranti Zapart

Runner Up: Heaven Arcini

Runner-Up Reinvented Street Wear Design by Heaven Arici modelled by Luke Cunningham


Wearable Art 

Designers were asked to blur the boundaries of art, sculpture and fashion, letting their imagination challenge their creativity, with the use of unconventional recycled materials combined with artistry and construction. The piece of wearable art should scream innovation and capture the wonder of the audience.


Winner:  Teddy McRitchie

Winning Wearable Art Design by Teddy McRitchie modelled by Ellie Sabato.

Runner Up: Olga McKenzie

Runner-Up Wearable Art Design by Olga McKenzie modelled by Widya Swastika

A Day at the Races 

Designers were asked to create an outfit that beautifully reflects the excitement of a day at the races. To think bold colours and extravagant silhouettes complemented by elegant fascinators or hats. Designs must embody the Fashion on the Field sophistication. 

Winner:  Tayla McFarlane 

Winning Day at the Races Design by Tayla McFarlane modelled by Tayla McFarlane

Runner Up: Julie Jaise

Runner-Up Day at the Races designed by Julie Jaise and modelled by Ella Corbett

Surfers Paradise Vibes 

The Surfers Paradise Vibes category asked designers to celebrate the seamless transition from sun-kissed shores to vibrant beachside bars with a look that exudes the glamour of a Gold Coast vacation. 

Winner:  Annette Love

Winning Surfers Paradise Vibes Design by Annette Love modelled by Ida Saraswati

Runner Up: Tayla McFarlane

Runner-up Surfers Paradise Vibes Design by Tayla McFarlane modelled by Tayla McFarlane

Ethical Bridal 

Ethical Bridal celebrates the new-age bride who values the planet and sustainable fashion practices.

Designers were asked to create a gown that’s not only beautiful but is made from sustainable fabrics and ethically sourced embellishments.

Judges were asked to look for elegant style, attention to detail and the ability to embody sustainability and ethical production process for the bride of tomorrow.


Winner:  Tayla McFarlane 

Winning Ethical Bridal Design by Tayla McFarlane modelled by Chelsea Mayer

Runner Up: Pricila Septian

Runner-up Ethical Bridal Design by Pricila Septian modelled by Widya Swastika