Edwina Sinclair, the young designer behind Brisbane label SOOT, has been named among 12 graduate designers nationally to compete for a chance to have a collection launched in Target

The hugely successful Designers for Target range has seen the work of Brisbane’s Gail Reid of label Gail Sorronda, Stella McCartney, Colette Dinnigan and most recently Roberto Cavalli, repackaged and reinterpreted for the Target customer. The next collection in the series will be the winner of a National Graduate Showcase as part of the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival.

Sinclair, who graduated from QUT last year, was last night named among 12 national finalists who have recently completed their fashion studies. She is the only finalist among the 12 from Queensland, with the rest predominantly hailing from Melbourne’s RMIT.

More than 180 students entered the competition, which was open to fashion graduates across Australia.

The students’ collections will be shown at the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival on March 22 and a winner judged by Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival CEO Graeme Lewsey, Christine boutique owner Christine Barro, National Gallery Victoria curator Katie Somerville, runway stylist Kate Gaskin and two Target representatives, as well as a component factored in by public vote.

Together with their collection being produced for Target, the winner will receive a $25,000 cash prize.

“It’s exciting,” says Sinclair.

“It was a bit scary being at the launch last night in Melbourne the only one going down from Brisbane, but it was actually a good experience, I had to speak to people more and I made some good contacts.”

Although only just completing her studies, Edwina Sinclair is no newcomer to the fashion industry. Starting her own label straight out of high school, the designer opened her own boutique off James St at 19 and only last year chose to close the store but pick up boutique stockists to carry her label while she focused on her studies.

The Soot collection is now available at Brisbane’s Blonde Venus as well as two Melbourne boutiques.

Sinclair hopes her colourful outlook will stand her apart from the competition in the National Graduate Showcase and see Queensland prevail with a coveted spot in Target next winter.

“I think my collection’s quite playful and fun and has a bit of a childlike look whereas some of the other students’ collections are darker,” she says.

“All of the collections in the competition are very different so what the judges choose will just be about what they’re looking for for Target.

“Last night they were talking about wanting something fresh and unique; I don’t know if they are looking for something commercial or something abstract that can be toned down to a commercial level, but they’re definitely looking for something that stands out.”

View Edwina’s Soot collection at www.target.com.au.