In a celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander textiles and fashion design, the Indigenous Fashion Projects Runway (IFP), presented by Afterpay and supported by David Jones, was held at Carriageworks on Gadigal Land in Eveleigh, Sydney as part of Afterpay Australian Fashion Week.
The IFP Runway, a Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Foundation (DAAFF) initiative, presented collections from five of Australia’s leading First Nations designers. Each vibrant collection, drawing on the designer’s deep and personal connection to Country.
Newly appointed Community Ambassador for DAAFF, Jessica Mauboy performed her latest single, where she captivated the audience with her impressive vocals and passionate performance.
Following the success of the inaugural IFP Runway in 2021, Indigenous designers returned to the main stage, where internationally celebrated First Nations Australian models such as Samantha Harris, Nathan McGuire and Friend of David Jones, Magnolia Maymuru stunned in a magnificent display of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander design.
Attendees to the IFP Runway were treated to exclusive collections from:
- Kirrikin, By Wonnarua designer Amanda Healy | IFP Pathways Program with David Jones: Mentored in 2022 by Bianca Spender
- Liandra Swim, By Yolngu designer Liandra Gaykamangu | IFP Pathways Program with David Jones: Mentored in 2022 by Dale McCarthy of Bondi Born
- Maara Collective, By Yuwaalaraay designer Julie Shaw | IFP Pathways Program with David Jones: Mentored in 2022 by Edwina Forest and Adrian Norris of Aje
- Native Swimwear, By Biripi and Ngarabal designer Natalie Cunningham | IFP Pathways Program with David Jones: Mentored in 2022 by Charlotte Hicks of Esse Studios
- Ngali, By Wiradjuri designer Denni Francisco | IFP Pathways Program with David Jones: Mentored in 2022 by Deborah Sams and Mary Lou Ryan of Bassike
Indigenous Fashion Projects was organised to support the development of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander textile and fashion practice, which led to the creation of its IFP Pathways Program.
Established in 2020 and supported by David Jones, the program’s goal is to nurture and open up business opportunities and capacity building for Indigenous designers and labels through workshops, seminars and direct mentorships with established Australian designers from the David Jones family.
As First Nations women fast making their mark on the global fashion landscape, the designers have been pushing the boundaries and using fashion as a platform to tell their stories and share their unique culture through their designs.
Sustainable practice by way of community engagement and caring for Country are key pillars in each designer’s work. From Indigenous Art Centre and artist collaborations, through to the innovative use of sustainable materials and techniques that merge cultural knowledge with contemporary practice.
With an exclusive performance by Jessica Mauboy and a visual treat from acclaimed First Nations artist Wayne Quilliam and Darwin based production company, Global Headquarters, the runway was brought to life with Creative Direction from Eastern Arrernte woman, Shilo McNamee alongside Al Weekes, Head Runway Stylist and Yorta Yorta man Rhys Ripper and produced by Cat Rose.
DAAFF and IFP’s Creative Director, Shilo McNamee said the runway aesthetics were designed to take guests on an immersive sensory journey from the desert heart of Australia, along freshwater rivers, through to the sea. “Connection to Country is core to the artistic practice of so many First Nations designers and creatives, it’s been so rewarding to see this represented on the runway. I feel extremely grateful to have been able to work with so many talented people and to be mentored by industry leaders,” she said.
From the custom floor artwork ‘River Sands’ by artist McNamee herself, to a rich digital backdrop of scenes from Country and emotive soundscapes flooding the room, the runway culminated in a memorable performance from Jessica Mauboy.
Jess Mauboy commented on her special runway performance, “It was such an honour to collaborate with Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Foundation’s Indigenous Fashion Projects and take part in this year’s IFP Runway. I have been a long-time advocate for supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander creativity and it’s an experience that I won’t forget for a long time and an initiative that’s close to my heart.”
David Jones General Manager of Womenswear, Footwear and Accessories, Bridget Veals added, “The IFP Pathways Program initiative is part of David Jones’ ongoing commitment to supporting diverse design perspectives and working towards a future Australian fashion industry that is more inclusive and representative of Indigenous design and culture.”
IFP is a program of the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair (DAAF) Foundation, a not-for-profit Indigenous organisation, owned and governed by the 75 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Centres it represents.