SYDNEY – IMG will partner with First Nations Fashion and Design, a national voice representing Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander designers, to support Indigenous Australian creative talent in a series of initiatives during the upcoming Afterpay Australian Fashion Week, including the Resort 2022 collections showcase will take place from May 31 to June 4 at the Carriageworks site in Sydney.
WWD can reveal that the FNFD will open the event on the morning of May 31 with a Welcome to Country presentation, which will include a traditional smoking ceremony, as well as elements of dance, art and fashion.
On June 2, FNFD will then present an Indigenous fashion show featuring the work of eight designers, including Amber Days by Corina Muir; Aarli by Teagan Cowlishaw; Clair Helen; Ngarru Miimi by Lillardia Allirra Briggs-Houston; Keema Co. by Nickeema Williams; Nungala Creative by Jessica Johnson; Sown in time by Lynelle Flinders and artist Grace Lillian Lee, also founder and director of the First Nations Fashion and Design Indigenous Corporation.
From May 31 to June 2, FNFD will also operate a dedicated space in AAFW’s on-site showroom, The Suites, which will serve as a backdrop for featured Indigenous designers to meet buyers and the media.
Additionally, on June 3, Lee will host a panel discussion exploring the continued growth and support of the Australian Indigenous model and designer industry as part of AAFW: The Talks.
“We are committed to playing an active role in the advancement of Indigenous Australian designers and leveraging our resources to amplify their voices in the Australian fashion industry and around the world,” said Natalie Xenita, Executive Director from IMG’s Fashion Events Group, Asia-Pacific region. .
âOur country has inspired the Australian fashion and design industry for over 200 years,â said Lee. âOur indigenous practices and landscapes have been a great source of inspiration. Our people and our land continue to contribute to the growth and development of this nation. We aim to rewrite history by reclaiming our tale of connecting to the country through fashion and design. Indigenous fashion is the future of the Australian fashion industry, and what an honor to be billed as the first Indigenous fashion show at AAFW’s 25th anniversary, amplifying Indigenous voices for the next generation and chapter of history from AAFW.
IMG’s suites won’t be FNFD’s only showroom option at the event.
As part of a separate partnership with the online showroom Ordre.com, a few hours from the FNFD show on June 2 AAFW, the collections of the eight featured FNFD designers will be available for viewing on Ordre.com, potentially increasing the visibility of designers from international retailers – none of which will be heading to Sydney this year, due to ongoing travel restrictions.
According to Simon Lock, co-founder and CEO of Order.com, the Order’s 2021 virtual station showroom’s collaboration with the Australian Fashion Council last year led to direct engagement with 400 Order’s 3,000 global distribution networks, including Galeries Lafayette, Shinsegae, Intermix, Joyce Boutiques, Net-a-porter and Matchesfashion.com, and have generated millions of dollars in wholesale orders. The AFC collaboration began last May, when the canceled 2020 edition of Australian Fashion Week would have taken place, and showcased the collections of 25 designers.
âRight now, retailers have limited options for attending physical fashion weeks and attending physical showrooms, so virtual showrooms are proving to be a great channel for discovering new talents, âLock said. âWe have seen increased engagement with our global retail network, particularly when it comes to reviewing new season collections for new emerging designers.â
Since the inception of Australian Fashion Week in 1996, there has been little Indigenous representation, with only one or two Indigenous brands such as Kooey Swimwear and Desert Designs showing on time already.
His profile, bolstered by the setting up of the short-lived Australian Indigenous Fashion Week in Sydney in 2014 – which collapsed into debts of A $ 343,000 several months later and has never been repeated – the Indigenous fashion sector has since seen significant development, with fashion shows now being a key feature of Indigenous art showcases such as the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair and the Darwin Indigenous Art Fair.
The past 18 months have seen the launch of the FNFD and the latter’s First Nations Fashion Council, as well as the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Foundation’s Indigenous Fashion Projects initiative, which hosted the first national awards last year. Indigenous Fashion and also unveiled an Indigenous Fashion Incubator Program. with the David Jones department store chain.
Neither IMG nor Indigenous Fashion Projects responded to questions about a separate Indigenous fashion showcase that WWD understands IFP plans to host at AAFW on June 3, featuring five additional designers, including Maara Collective and Ngali.
Led by former Australian Fashion Council CEO David Giles-Kaye, Indigenous Fashion Projects was originally slated to host a multi-brand show at Australian Fashion Week 2020, but it was shelved when the event was canceled due to COVID-19.