First Nations Fashion Design Collab
Earlier this year we bought you a fashion editorial involving a collaboration between prominent First Nations fashion design labels and non-Indigenous brands. We’ve decided to revisit that editorial with more information about the brands involved in this beautiful shoot.
Lakun Mara, ‘Weaving Hand’ in Ngarrindjeri language is a sustainable traditional weaving brand that is strongly linked to cultural maintenance, survival and revival. The art of Lakun Mara is inspired and strongly connected to the traditional weaving practice of Ngarrindjeri and Ngadjuri First Nations. Made by Sonya Rankine, Lakun Mara from the lower Murray, Coorong and Lakes area of South Australia. Along with commissioned baskets and wall hangings, Sonya’s earrings are unique. Combining traditional Ngarrindjeri weaving with modern techniques, Sonya uses local natural fibres gathered locally, creating a strong connection to land and natural resources. Sonya received the 2019 Don Dunstan Foundation Emerging Artist Award and in 2021 was announced as the South Australian NAIDOC Artist of the Year.
Kirrikin roughly translates to “Sunday’s best clothes”. Founded by Amanda Healey, this luxe contemporary clothing and accessories brand showcases a curated collection of Aboriginal artwork from all over the country, on sustainable fabrics. A percentage of each purchase directly benefits the featured artist involved in the design. Two blazers were featured in our street style shoot. The Grevillia Collection (pictured) features the art of Jessica Tedim, who’s of Palawa heritage, from the east coast of Tasmania. The Ripple Collection (blue blazer) displays the work of artist Helena Geiga whose mother traces her Aboriginal heritage back to the Gumbayngirr language group from the North Coast of NSW where most of her family still live.
Yarrabah – Elverina Johnson
Elverina Johnson is one of Australia’s most highly respected artists and is a keen advocate for empowering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. A proud Gurugulu and Indinji Gimuy woman from Yarrabah in far north Queensland, Elverina’s designs have been featured in two Taking Shape Australia women’s clothing ranges. Elverina has received the Rona Tranby Trust Award and the Smart Women Smart State Award (Qld) for Community Innovation. In 2017, Elverina was also awarded the National NAIDOC Artist of the Year and the Yarrabah International Women’s Day Woman of the Year in 2018. Elverina has also represented her community at the United Nations, highlighting issues facing Indigenous women.
Gomeroi fashion designer, Colleen Tighe-Johnson revives Gomeroi Dreaming Stories in each of her designs. Her label Buluuy Mirrii, “Black Star” has showcased in Melbourne, New Zealand, Canada, New York Fashion Week, Paris Fashion Week and the Cannes Film Festival. Celebrating a range of of Aboriginal talents, commissioned Gomeroi artworks are transformed into fabric patterns by a Gomeroi graphic designer, printed on luxury fabrics and sewn into one-off garments. When showcasing her label, audiences learn more about the richmenss of Gomeroi culture through specially recorded Gomeroi soundtracks and voice overs which tell the stories behind each garment.
Yarrabah Arts Centre
A dynamic Aboriginal community in far North Queensland, home to the Gunggandji and Mandingalbay Yidinji traditional owners, Yarrabah originated as a Mission where Aboriginal peoples and South Sea Islanders were forcibly relocated. The Yarrabah Arts & Cultural Precinct was established in 2002 to provide facilities for local artists to strengthen art and cultural practice across weaving, painting and ceramics. We feature two eye-catching designs from a much larger, extraordinarily beautiful collection. The designs feature artwork by 1) Kyla Hedanek and 2) Aunty Philomena Yeatman and sewn by Simone Arnol.
Mindful of animal welfare, Cathryn Wills started vegan leather bag brand Sans Beast to offer an ethically viable non-leather fashion accessories alternative. Leather is not the by-product of food that people think it is. Rather, many animals are raised only for their hides, and over 70 billion animals are killed each year for food and/or fashion consumption. Sans Beast is the brand for people who care about animals. The brand channels funds from every purchase to Edgars Mission, One Tree Planted and Sea Shepherd and is PETA certified.
We first came across Helene Kailis Jewellery when they were featured on the runway at the SA Fashion Weekend, South Australia’s premier fashion event that showcases the best of South Australia’s fashion and design creatives. Combining modern compounds with natural elements, Helen Kailis designs are both eye-catching and incredibly unique.
Ethically-minded brand Nowa the Label offers modern silhouettes in everyday basics such as sweatpants in quality custom knitted textiles. It was a no-brainer to include a street wear label in our street style shoot and we were impressed with owner and designer Adrian Dorsey jump on board when he heard about the opportunity of working with Aboriginal designers. An advocate for transparency and ethical production, Dorsey is keen to ensure a diverse range of clothing that caters for all genders.
Model: Lily Tschuna
Agency: The Models
Hair: Athina Partsas – Armany Hair
Make Up: Rebecca Faraone Colour Cosmetica
Stylist: Tracey Bryans
Photographer: Dimitra Koriozos
Location: Kaurna Land, North Adelaide
See more First Nations Fashion Design