Australian Indigenous Fashion Designers
When someone says ‘Australian designers’ to you, what is the first thing that comes to mind. I’m not being racist here, it is probably the white looking designers that live in the major cities like Melbourne & Sydney.
Well , let me tell you, there are also Indigenous designers living in rural Queensland, remote Northern Territory & around Australia that don’t get the recognition they deserve.
As I was doing more research on this topic, I didn’t know or realise that there was a First Nation Fashion Council which was set up in March 2020. The council was to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander professionals. Led by an all Indigenous board. Its purpose is to help the growth of First Nations involvement within the fashion industry.
These designers bring their heritage & beliefs into their designs, which are quite beautiful at times.
Below are a few Indigenous designers and designer art centers bringing their designs to the wider community.
The designer behind Arkie is Arkie Barton, who lives in Queensland. She says her label is for young women who want more than just an outfit. Her hand drawn prints and design pieces tell a story and represent a piece of Indigenous Australian culture.
The person behind Faebella is Alisha Jayne who is an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander. Alisha graduated from Bond University in Queensland. Faebella was born out of Alisha passion for art and culture of her people and wanting to showcase it to the world. What a better way, than to put it on clothes.
Bima Wear is a Tiwi women’s creative enterprise based in Wurrumiyanga (Nguiu), Bathurst Island off the northern coast of Northern Territory. Tiwi women design, print & manufacture everyday, occasion and ceremonial wear that celebrates their distinct language and culture. Bima Wear commission other ethical, small Australian makers, based on the mainland, to manufacture the majority of clothing and other products. 100% of sales from their website goes back into Bima Wear.
North is a social enterprise that supports & broaden the exposure of textile design by Indigenous artists. They work with remote community art centres to develop beautiful, high-quality products that feature fabrics designed by remote Indigenous artists. The artists are from the Pirlangimpi, Milikapiti and Wurrumiyanga, of the Tiwi Islands.
The designer behind this label is Denni Francisco and her purpose is quite simple, ‘to tell the story of our country’ through her label. Denni collaborates with other Aboriginal artists to translate art into fashion.
I hope that in the near future these Indigenous designers and many more will showcase their designs to the international world as well as in Australia. We have a lot of great talent & should be proud of it.