For the first time in history, Australian Fashion Week featured an entirely Indigenous show.
The event featured a total of 12 designers Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds in two group runway shows and one student showcase.
In a standalone feature on Wednesday Jun. 2, First Nations Fashion + Design (FNFD), a not-for-profit Indigenous corporation that aims to support the growth of the Indigenous fashion industry, hosted a show featuring all-Indigenous talent, from the designers and models to the stylists and staff.
Curated by Grace Lillian Lee, a Meriam Mer woman who serves as the founder, designer and creative director of FNFD, the show featured 21 models and the work of seven Indigenous designers. It also included a multitude of live musical performances from Indigenous musicians, dancers and artists.
“This is not a moment. This is a movement,” was stamped against the photocall background, showcasing the organization’s hopes for the future of the Indigenous fashion industry. Indigenous representation has been a rare presence in previous Australian Fashion Weeks.
The next day, Indigenous Fashion Projects (IFP) hosted a show showcasing the work of six established Indigenous designers who were part of a program that paired indigenous designers with Australian brands to help them grow their business.
“For a long time we’ve been associated with $4.99 boomerangs – no more please,” designer Amanda Healy, who showed as part of the IFP. “We’re high end, our artwork is amazing, it is an ancient, beautiful culture that has such depth,” Healy, a Wonnarua woman who founded Kirrikin, which transforms contemporary Indigenous artists’ works into sophisticated luxury items.