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First Nations Fashion

Some of the country’s most revered First Nations artists and fashion designers come together on Larrakia Country for two very special fashion events this month.

By Tierney Seccull

Presented by Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Foundation’s (DAAFF) Indigenous Fashion Projects, these flagship events are gaining momentum, cementing Indigenous fashion firmly under the spotlight in a mainstream context.

Indigenous textiles and fashion are unleashed in a colourful display of wearable art at the Country to Couture fashion show. Kicking off in 2016, the highly anticipated affair has gone from strength to strength, gaining support for a third year running from fashion heavyweight Country Road.

18 collections are presented, over two different runways, to showcase and celebrate creativity, culture and practice of remote Indigenous communities.

“This year, guests can expect eclectic interpretations of each designer’s love of Country,” says DAAFF Artistic Director Shilo McNamee.

“We’re so excited to present such a variety of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander talent – creatives who are pushing the boundaries and will make their mark on Australian fashion with an explosion of colour, culture and sartorial design.”

The second huge event making up this annual First Nations fashion love-fest is the National Indigenous Fashion Awards (NIFA). Acknowledging excellence across six categories, the award ceremony is a unique opportunity for the Australian and international fashion community to connect to the world’s oldest living cultures. This year, it’s held under the stars at Deckchair Cinema. DAAFF Community Ambassador Jessica Mauboy says she’s honoured to be part of it.

“This is so exciting, this is such a proud moment. When art and designers come together, and watching them transform those beautiful, incredible stories that have been passed down for thousands of years, being transformed through textiles in a modern way,” she says.

“It’s vibrant, it’s exciting to see it in a whole different lens, and that’s what excites me the most … hearing [these stories] really showcased on a world class platform and told through a different lens. It’s growing and it’s continuously getting better and innovative, and that’s all to do with the excellence of these artists and designers coming together and collaborating.”

Country to Couture
WHEN TUE 2 AUG | 6.30PM & 8.30PM
COST $55-$85

National Indigenous Fashion Awards
COST $25


Image: Country to Couture Finale, 2021. Photo: Dylan Buckee

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