Sydney | Published on 11th April 2013 at 17:30

Qantas today announced Shannon Gunn and Gabrielle Thomson as winners of the Fashion Category in the 2013 Spirit of Youth Awards (SOYA 365), which recognise outstanding Australian artists in the early stages of their career.

The Queensland-based team become one of only nine recipients of the award, with SOYA 365 providing them with the chance to grow their brand awareness and reputation.

Working together under their label tom gunn, Shannon and Gabrielle create original footwear made with carefully selected leathers, contrasting colours and textures and a focus on individual styling.

Many talented Australian designers submitted their work in the fashion category this year, vying for a chance to win the prestigious title as well as $5000 in cash, $5,000 in Qantas flights and a rare 12-month mentorship opportunity with leading fashion luminaries Nicky and Simone Zimmermann.

Having trained in Australia and Italy, Shannon and Gabrielle stock their shoes throughout Australia and New Zealand and their creations have been displayed at prestigious events such as the Capsule tradeshow in New York and on home shores at Mercedes Benz Australia Fashion Week.

“We are so excited about winning, it’s an amazing opportunity and such a great award – we’re very honoured and can’t think of more inspiring mentors,” they said.

Mentors Nicky and Simone Zimmermann, the team behind one of Australia’s most influential and enduring fashion labels, selected the winner after looking for something with an individual perspective.

“Tom gunn has a unique point of view and it’s the first time an accessories brand has won the award.”

The Zimmermann sisters will help steer the winners through a career in the fashion industry, on a path successfully traversed by previous winners Romance was Born, Dion Lee, Antipodium and last year’s winner Michael lo Sordo.

The runners up were Ainsley Hansen, whose Hansen & Gretel label delivers designs that balance conceptual art through contemporary, wearable forms and Kaylene Milner, whose Sturm & Drang label focuses on reviving traditional arts and crafts through fashionable applications.

Now in its ninth year, SOYA 365 recognises the work of a new generation of creative talent and gives young Australians the financial and professional support they need to share their work with the world.

The new SOYA 365 hub is open for submissions with new creative categories closing every month.

For more information on SOYA 365 and tom gunn visit: