Thursday, April 18, 2024

Celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Owned Fashion Businesses

Support Aboriginal Owned Businesses

In May we all saw a flurry of thousands of black squares posted on Instagram in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. Many shared videos and books, vowing to become better informed about the reality of life in Australia for Aboriginal people. Some people acknowledged their racial privilege. Others reached out to Aboriginal people and volunteered to support Aboriginal organisations. It’s been almost 6 months since then and this week, it’s NAIDOC.  As NAIDOC celebrates the achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, we’re encouraging you to show your support once again, as you did for Black Lives Matter. It’s time to support Aboriginal owned businesses.

Aboriginal owned accessories label Bush Magic Metal
Bush Magic Metal

NAIDOC Origins

NAIDOC began in 1938 as a day of mourning. It marked the 150th anniversary of colonisation in New South Wales and the absence of civil rights for Aboriginal people. NAIDOC has grown since then into a week long celebration of the achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Maara Collective
Keisha Bovill in Maara Collective headscarf

In 2020, the theme for NAIDOC is  Always Was, Always Will Be. It recognises that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people occupied and cared for this continent for over 65,000 years and still do.

Shakira Cooper (L) & Elena Wangurra in Liandra. Nhulunbuy, Northern Territory. Photo: Leicolhn McKellar


How to Show Your Support

Once again, we’re celebrating Aboriginal fashion designers. This year we’ll be posting a series of images of Instagram and Facebook with the hashtag #alwayswasalwayswillbe.  We’re inviting ALL Australian fashion labels, influencers and anyone with an Instagram profile to post an image of an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander owned fashion label. Or,  post an image of a model or artist. We are challenging those in the Australian fashion industry to go beyond simply posting a black square on Instagram.

Indii Swimwear
Amber in Indii Swimwear

Businesses Supporting Aboriginal Communities

There’s an amazing collaboration between Lisa Gorman and Aboriginal artists from Fitzroy Crossing that took two years to produce. Moreover, it  respectfully ticked all the cultural, administrative and legal boxes.

Magpie Goose, set up by non-indigenous women Maggie McGowan and Laura Egan is an amazing social enterprise. It partners with Aboriginal artists from a number of  remote communities to exhibit Aboriginal culture, stories and art in its clothing collections. No doubt endeavours such as these provide recognition of culture and support to the communities involved. 

Two models wearing Kirrikin, a wholly aboriginal owned fahsion label
Kirrikin resort wear, Sam Harris (R)

Aboriginal Owned Businesses in Fashion

There’s a long list of Aboriginal owned businesses that we should be familiar with too.  You’ll be hearing more about names such as Indii Swimwear, Kirrikin, Liandra, Lyn-Al Young, Maara Collective,  MurriQuu, Ngali, Simone Arnol and Yhi, to name just a few. There are so many more. This week, we’ll be posting images from these and more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander owned businesses on our social media. We invite you to join the celebrations and show your support for them by doing the same. 

Yhi Collective

Did you post a black square for #BlackLivesMatter? Then you’ll surely want to post an image of an Aboriginal owned fashion label with #alwayswasalwayswillbe. In that way you can embrace, support and celebrate the achievements of the people behind them. 

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