Fourteen years ago, Russian-born Marina Afonina started out as an intern at Harper’s BAZAAR Australia. Today, she’s creating fashion that appears within the publication’s glossy pages. Fashion that on Wednesday earned her the BT Emerging Fashion Designer Award at the BT Runway 2018 event.
Afonina’s luxury resort wear label, Albus Lumen, was awarded the prestigious accolade by a panel of industry experts, including Editor-in-Chief of Vogue Australia and Australian Fashion Council Board Director, Edwina McCann. With the award came a $10,000 cash grant and two years of financial planning from BT, along with a slew of other prizes.
Speaking to Mamamia, Afonina said the announcement brought on a mixture of emotions.
“It was unexpected, overwhelming but also exciting. It was an honour to receive the award, and I am incredibly grateful,” the former stylist said.
“It’s an incredible opportunity for us to take the brand further globally and locally here in Australia.”
Success has come quickly for the label, which launched just two years ago. Afonina attributed this rapid rise to hard work, strong belief in herself and the brand.
“I think it’s also important to have a clear vision of the brand’s aesthetic – where it is and where you want it to go,” she said. “Plus, it gives me so much satisfaction and joy. I love the challenge of hard work and I’m constantly learning.”
Getting to this point has not come without its difficulties.
“In addition to overseeing the whole process from designing the garments to production and attention to all the finer details, there are also the everyday challenges that come with having your own business and family at the same time,” Afonina said. “I’m lucky that I have a lot of support from my family and I’m doing what I love which makes all the hard work worth it.”
At Wednesday’s BT Runway event, Albus Lumen designs were shown alongside fellow Emerging Designer nominees, Anna Quan and Double Rainbouu, as well as established Australian labels Dion Lee, Carl Kapp, CAMILLA AND MARC, Manning Cartell and Ginger & Smart.
Many of these designer’s looks will be available via The Iconic, and if purchased between 27th March – 10th April, the online retailer will donate 10 per cent of sales to BT Financial Group’s charity partner, Dress for Success.
Operated by volunteers, the organisation empowers women to achieve financial independence by providing support, suitable clothing and advice to help them secure employment.