The bold, bright designs and incredible textures of Australian Indigenous fashion and textiles have always captured the world's attention. However it’s only been in the past couple of years that we’ve really seen a large growth for First Nations fashion. Everyone including luxury fashion houses are opening their eyes to the value of Indigenous fashion and design. People are becoming aware of how stories make objects, art and fashion precious. With more support for Indigenous fashion coming through the forms of mentorship and events, the industry has finally established its own identity.
AIFW 2014, Image sourced from Getty Images
Overall there has been widespread knowledge of Indigenous art in terms of visual mediums such as hieroglyphics and landscapes, sculptures and of course canvas. Both nationally and internationally the aesthetic of Indigenous artwork is well known, however this is now being pushed further through the sharing of textile design, fashion design and wearable art. Fashion events such as Australian Indigenous Fashion Week (AIFW) are here to create more exposure and a consciousness of these important forms of artistic expression. The AIFW started in 2012 and has been hugely successful at showcasing Indigenous fashion in a format that demands attention. The AIFW demonstrates the fact that Indigenous fashion is thriving.
“The international community knows that aesthetic, the style of our paintings and art. What we’re doing is trying to nurture the next level, which is textile design, fashion design, and the manufacturing of fashion and wearable accessories.” - Charles Perkins (AIFW Founder)
Another hugely important fashion event that has emerged is the National Indigenous Fashion Awards (NIFA). They play an important role in the acknowledgement of Indigenous fashion and designers. NIFA is a vibrant and exciting platform that celebrates innovation, diversity and ethical practices of Indigenous artists and fashion designers. It is events such as these that have really given the Indigenous fashion industry a sense of validity and real appreciation at last.
Here at Yarn, we have been experiencing growth as more and more people are learning about and wanting to express their appreciation of Indigenous arts and culture. We’re incredibly grateful to be able to share the work of talented Indigenous artists through fashion. Fashion is a form of artistic expression that connects us all. We all have a need for clothing and as such the use of fashion can be an incredibly powerful way of sharing messages and the artistic talents of First Nations people. Indigenous Fashion is growing and thriving!