The RMIT fashion alumni behind the innovative label PAGEANT – Amanda Cumming and Kate Reynolds – have won the $100,000 Tiffany & Co National Design Award.
The pair’s collective menswear and womenswear label took home the top accolade for emerging designers at the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival (VAMFF).
Cumming and Reynolds were awarded more than $100,000 in prizes, including return flights to New York, business and industry mentoring and a unique retail opportunity with Westfield.
PAGEANT was selected from a talented pool of finalists including Australian labels Emma Mulholland, Macgraw, Bùl, and Verner.
Previous winners have gone on to achieve global success, including RMIT alumni Toni Maticevski, and Peter Strateas and Mario-Luca Carlucci, of Strateas.Carlucci.
Cumming and Reynolds graduated from the Bachelor of Fashion Design (Honours) with first-class honours in 2006.
After graduating, they both moved to London, honing their technical and creative skills in the UK fashion industry and working for a range of designers including Tim Soar, Christopher Kane, Cassette Playa, and Christopher Shannon.
With a diverse range of experience and skills under their belt, including costume design for bands Cut Copy and Midnight Juggernauts and styling for label Perks and Mini (PAM), the duo decided to pursue their own label.
Cumming and Reynolds, who now work collaboratively on styling and costume design, founded PAGEANT in 2010 as a menswear label, expanding into womenswear in 2013.
Influenced by sportswear, youth subculture and artistic disciplines, PAGEANT garments are designed and manufactured in Australia with hi-tech Japanese fabrics.
Cumming, who also teaches first- and fourth-year fashion design students at RMIT, said the pair felt incredibly excited about the win and the future of their label.
“We aim to grow our denim and swimwear offering into separate lines, continue our special projects and collaborations and to grow our business internationally,” she said.
Reynolds, who works as a freelance creative on top of her role with PAGEANT, said studying fashion design at RMIT allowed her to unlock her creative potential.
“Our time at RMIT really set up a strong foundation to launch our careers within the fashion industry,” she said.
“Our advice to aspiring fashion designers would be to work hard, be patient and dream big!”
Professor Robyn Healy, Head of the School of Fashion and Textiles, said she was elated with PAGEANT’s tremendous success.
“Amanda and Kate’s well-deserved win is a clear indication of the calibre of talented and determined graduates originating from RMIT’s fashion programs,” Healy said.
“We’re building a dedicated fashion community at RMIT where world-class alumni like Amanda and Kate are giving back by sharing knowledge and ideas with student and their peers.
“The morning after their win Amanda was in class, teaching first-year RMIT fashion design students.
“Our students are taught invaluable design and commercial practices while connecting with innovative practitioners, which ultimately helps mould their understanding of the industry and places them as leaders in the field.”
RMIT’s School of Fashion and Textiles is globally recognised for its contemporary programs, industry-based focus and entrepreneurial practices.