Cairns Indigenous Fashion Showcase – Water is Sacred


Indigenous Fashion Designers to use Nature’s Runway

Mark your diaries for Friday night, August 21 for the Water is Sacred fashion showcase of Indigenous fashion designers coming to you from north Queensland’s most picturesque beaches and waterways. You. Won’t. Want. To. Miss!

Swapping catwalk for Country, the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair 2020 will use an innovative, virtual platform to deliver its culturally charged fashion event to the world.

Lynelle Flinders - CIAF 2020

Designer: Lynelle Flinders

For this year’s eighth, but first ever, digital iteration of CIAF’s signature event, choreographer Hans Ahwang is joined by creative duo, Bernard Singleton and Simone Arnol to produce and showcase seven designer collections filmed and photographed in Tropical North Queensland’s most picturesque, water-based locations from Wangetti Beach and Green Island to Tinaroo Dam, Davies Creek Falls and Cairns Aquarium.

A creative cohort of 12 models, hair and make-up artists and crew converged at some of the region’s most beautiful water holes, beaches and freshwater streams earlier this month  as part of an intense, seven day filming schedule.


Designer: Nicole Chatfield

From 7pm on Friday 21 August, 2020, Water is Sacred will provide viewers with a spectacular and engaging 90-minute production that celebrates water, commends its care and sustaining its connection to Country.

This year’s presenting fashion designers are Lynelle Flinders, Bana – Yirriji, Eunice Hosea, Nicole Chatfield, Simone Arnol & Djunngaal Elders Group, Yarrabah, Hope Vale Arts and Culture Centre, and the Pormpuraaw Art and Culture Centre Inc.

CIAF - from Water is Sacred

Designed by Nicole Chatfield

Fashion designer and one-half of the creative duo behind Water is Sacred, Simone Arnol said this year’s event delivers a narrative through sustainable fashion, wearable art/design and is a fusion of both contemporary and traditional dance.

Cairns Indigenous Art Fair - Fashion Showcase

Designer: Eunice Hosea

 “We must practice in the water culture continuum,” Ms Arnol said. “Water is life. We are drawn to it. Water makes up 70 per cent of our body, 75 per cent of our brain, nearly 90 per cent of our lungs, 82 per cent of our blood and covers over 70 per cent of the earth’s surface.

Aboriginal model in Simone Arnol two piece strapless outfit

Designer: Simone Arnol & Djunngaal Elders Group

“In all corners of the globe people confront both opportunity and tragedy relating to water. Sometimes there is too much, other times, too little. But increasingly, the presence of, or absence of water is chaotic, with its unpredictable patterns forever resulting in natural disaster.”

Indigenous fashion designers Hopevale Arts

Designers: Hopevale Arts

“Water is mystical, religious, powerful, revered and feared. It is the tie that binds everything, both animate and inanimate regardless of outcome. It is core to life for Indigenous peoples and therefore protecting and managing water is to be a custodial and intergenerational responsibility.”

“We have asked this year’s designers to apply their techniques and practices, both old and new, to explore and experiment, while adopting sustainable, eco-friendly practise to produce their range of wearable art,” she said.

The showcase is part of the annual Cairns Indigenous Art Fair 2020, which runs from August 14 to 23 in a program that has expanded from 3 days to 10!

Check out the entire 10 day programme and click on Water is Sacred and it will take you to the platform on which the event is playing, where you can watch it live. Prior to the fashion showcase, a panel of experts will discuss indigenous fashion design earlier in the day. By clicking on the panel discussion on the programme, you’ll be able to watch this live, as well.

From the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair - Water is Sacred fashion showcase of Indigenous Fashion Designers

Designer: Bana Yirriji Wujal

If you miss out on the ‘live’ event showcasing these amazing indigenous fashion designers, you’ll be able to view it later on the CIAF’s digital platform.

Indigenous Fashion Designers in the Water is Sacred showcase

Designer: Pormpuraaw

Photos: Cristina – The Photo Corner


For more posts about indigenous fashion designers, hit the following links to check out the winners of the inaugural Indigenous Fashion Design Awards, all the finalists, leading Aboriginal fashion designers, Lyn-al Young and Ellah Noah Bancroft.


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