The annual Australian Fashion Laureate celebrates the accomplishments of the country’s fashion industry leaders and innovators whose talents and creations are shaping the local industry and its future.

Now in its 14th year, the event was held in Sydney on 30 November and attended by more than 100 industry designers, retailers, media and government officials.

Among the event’s prestigious awards categories, which includes Designer of the Year, was a new honour: the Carla Zampatti Award for Excellence in Leadership, in tribute to the late Carla Zampatti AC, who was awarded the Australian Fashion Laureate in 2009 – the first woman to receive the honour – and whose contribution to the Australian fashion industry has been deep and enduring.

This new award acknowledges and celebrates leadership and commitment to driving impact and change in the fashion industry.

Nominees for the award need to show outstanding contributions to advancing the positions of women and gender diverse people in the Australian fashion industry. In addition, nominees’ careers must also span 10 or more years of positive impact within, or in support of, the Australian fashion industry.

The inaugural winner of the Carla Zampatti Award for Excellence in Leadership was Cairns-based artist and designer Grace Lillian Lee.  

Porsche Cars Australia’s role as presenting partner for this new category is especially fitting, in terms of its spirit and the creative leaders it acknowledges.

“Congratulations to Grace Lillian Lee on receiving this important award,” said Daniel Schmollinger, Porsche Cars Australia’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer.

“Porsche knows the importance of ground-breaking ideas.

“We also know the importance of supporting and showcasing creative leaders, especially the challengers trying to break through to the top.

Grace Lillian Lee, winner of the inaugural Carla Zampatti Award for Excellence in Leadership at the 2021 Australian Fashion Laureate, with Daniel Schmollinger
“We also know the importance of supporting and showcasing creative leaders, especially the challengers trying to break through to the top." Daniel Schmollinger, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Porsche Cars Australia

“Helping ensure their success is critical because it’s the creative leaders who advance their industries, something Carla Zampatti AC shows with her tremendous lifelong contribution to the Australian fashion industry.

Porsche at the 2021 Australian Fashion Laureate

“Carla Zampatti’s creations, leadership and success continue to inspire women everywhere, especially the fashion industry’s rising talent, its tastemakers, and those in business.”

The annual Australian Fashion Laureate was established in 2008 by IMG and the New South Wales government and is one of the fashion industry’s leading industry awards events.  

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