Fashion

The First Nations brands that are revolutionising the Australian fashion landscape

First Nations fashion is enriched by its connection to culture, Country and language.
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First Nations fashion designers are some of the most innovative, connected and culturally invigorated creators in our artisan community.

In observation of NAIDOC (National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee) week, which celebrates our First Nations people’s rich history, achievements, and culture, become acquainted with some of the community’s most textually and aesthetically inspiring fashion labels.

The 2021 theme is Heal Country, which responds to last year’s devastating bush fires and acknowledges the need for more protection of our waters, lands, and sacred sites.

The Celebrating NAIDOC Week website explains how integral country is to First Nations people because “Country is more than a place and inherit to our Identity.”

It is a place that is spoken “about like a person, sustaining our lives in every aspect – spiritually, physically, emotionally, socially, and culturally.”

These values and this year’s theme are intrinsically connected to First Nations‘ fashion brands because they are rooted in sustainable practices, cultural celebration, and social consciousness.

In celebration of First Nations’ influence and achievements in fashion and textiles, here are eight outstanding designers to follow.

We acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation as the traditional custodians of the country this story is published on.

Instagram

Maara collective

Maara Collective

The Maara Collective works side-by-side with First Nation creatives and artists. In the Yuwaalaraay and Gamilaraay languages, ‘Maara’ means ‘hands’, which references the collaborative nature of the label. The inspiration behind the brand is Country and contemporary fashion.

Maara Collective

Maara

‘Lena’ Wide-Leg Pant, White, $245 by Maara Collective can be found here.

Maara Collective

Maarra

‘Ella’ Woven Tunic, Ochre Yellow, $149.00 by Maara Collective can be found here.

Instagram

Ngarru Miimi

Ngarru Miimi

Designed and constructed by Lillardia Briggs-Houston, a Wiradjuri Gangulu Yorta Yorta woman, Ngarru Miimi is a slow, ethical fashion label that features handprinted textiles. The values of sustainability and cultural integrity are woven into her work.

Ngarru Miimi

Ngarru Miimi

Off The Shoulder Gathered Linen Crop, $130 by Ngarru Miimi can be found here.

Ngarru Miimi

Ngarru Miimi

Ngayirr Relaxed Shoulder Tie Mini Dress, $160 by Ngarru Miimi can be found here.

Instagran

Ngali

Ngali Australia

Ngali means ‘us’ or ‘we’ and references the brands wish to create a bond between Country and people. Ngali designs pieces with artwork from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander creators to tell stories through fashion.

Ngali

Ngali Aus

Black Bark Knitted Vest, $125 by Ngali can be found here.

Ngali

Babin T Shirt Dress – My Country, $275 by Ngali can be found here.

Instagram

Kirrikin

Kirrikin

Kirrikin means ‘Sunday’s best clothes’ in the original language of the Hunter Valley. The brand utilises its First Nation identity to explore its people, traditions and land through its exclusive designs.

Kirrikin

Kirrikin

Jessie Long Dress, $390 by Kirrikin can be found here.

Kirrikin

Kirrikin

Shannon Slip Dress, $620 by Kirrikin can be found here.

Instagram

North

North

North features art and textiles created by Indigenous artists who are from remote community Art Centres. While it’s not an Aboriginal owned business, the non-for-profit organisation is governed by Indigenous and non-Indigenous board members.

North

North

Silky Cami, $160 by North can be found here.

North

North

Warlu Sun Dress, $280 by North can be found here.

Instagram

Bima

Bima Wear

This brand dates back to 1969 when Sister Eucharia and Tiwi women created the company, with some still working today. Bima designs, prints, and manufactures their creations, which seek to share their culture and distinct language.

Bima

Bima

Nobody Denim x Bima Wear Skirt, $189 by Bima can be found here.

Bima

Bima Wear

Box Dress – Turtini Light Green Navy, $150 by Bima can be found here.

Instagram

Magpie Goose

Magpie Goose

Magpie Goose curates collections that tell unique stories from First Nation artists all over the country to highlight its people, culture and stories.

Magpie Goose

Magpie Goose

Smock Dress – Macassans Trading With My People, $269 by Magpie Goose can be found here.

Magpie Goose

Goose

Jumpsuit – Stingrays, $279 by Magpie Goose can be found here.

Instagram

Red Ridge

Red Ridge The Label

The brand works with Central Western Queensland Aboriginal artists to showcase their work on fashion pieces. The designs are connected to the land, rivers and deserts that mark the area.

Red Ridge The Label

Red Ridge The Label

Aprila Dress – Wattle, $295 by Red Ridge The Label can be found here.

Red Ridge The Label

Red Ridge The Label

Punpu Dress – Wattle, $230 by Red Ridge The Label can be found here.

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