A New Opportunity for Up and Coming Indigenous Fashion Designers

Indigenous fashion is on the rise and the industry is continuing to grow, gain respect and recognition. The numbers of businesses and designers are increasing and so is the support and resources for these emerging creatives. The Indigenous Fashion Project (IFP) run by Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Foundation (DAAFF) exists to support the development of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander fashion and textile practice. IFP has partnered with David Jones to create the Pathways Program, designed to support Indigenous fashion designers through a series of workshops and mentorship.

From County to Couture 2020. Photo by Dylan Buckee. Image sourced from Australian Fashion Council.

The Pathways Program is an exciting opportunity for Indigenous designers to gain professional industry knowledge and expertise. The program is designed to nurture the growth of Indigenous businesses. It will not only be a platform for teaching but also listening and learning on the part of the Industry Partners. Designers will be encouraged to share their stories and culture throughout the process. The first designer to enter the program is Deni Francisco (Wiradjuri woman), founder of Ngali Australia. Francisco talks about what an exciting opportunity this is for Ngali:

“As a social enterprise, everything we do by way of building our brand awareness and our customer numbers helps us to help others in our communities. Everything we do as First Nations Peoples is in consideration of those who follow us so a Pathways program that enhances our business means laying down a path that more of our upcoming creatives could choose to follow” - Deni Francisco (courtesy of David Jones Blog)

The Indigenous Fashion Project over the years has been an incredible resource for the Indigenous fashion scene. They focus upon protecting cultural expression, sustainable practice across environmental, social and financial spheres, community engagement, collaboration and good governance. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for next year's Indigenous fashion events that IPF organise. They include:

The Australian Indigenous Fashion Showcase: at the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week (MBFW). The MBFW will run from May 11-15 2021. Find out more here.

Country to Couture: A celebration of Indigenous textile and fashion collaborations at the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair. The fair will run from August 6-8 2021. Find out more here.

National Indigenous Fashion Awards (NIFA): An annual ceremony recognizing and celebrating Indigenous textiles and fashion across Australia. Find out more here.

All of the events are incredible celebrations of Indigenous art, fashion, creativity and culture. They are absolutely worth checking out if you have the chance.

Here at Yarn we love being able to witness the incredible emerging Indigenous talent within fashion and the increasing support the industry is now providing. We look forward to seeing what comes out of the Pathways Program. If you would like to be a part of the pathways program you can find the submissions portal here.