It's safe to say that conversations have been extended this year and those surrounding representation and inclusivity in the fashion industry have most definitely been amplified, heard and actioned. Therefore, I am happy to announce, as yes, it's about time Australia, that this year for Afterpay Australian Fashion Week, someone has stepped in and announced a partnership in order to help make that happen.
The fashion and events division of IMG Australia have announced their support and partnership with First Nations Fashion and Design (FNFD) to elevate the voices and talent of emerging Indigenous Australian designers this year to highlight as a part important part of the Afterpay Australian Fashion Week schedule.
To highlight their partnership, IMG Australia will host a series of events and programmes spotlighting various Indigenous Australian designers including trade showrooms and virtual content creation and media circulation, along with the highly anticipated First Nations Fashion and Design Runway that will take place on Wednesday, 2 June at 9am, where eight Indigenous Australian fashion designers such as Amber Days by Corina Muir, Aarli by Teagan Cowlishaw, Clair Helen, Grace Lillian Lee, Ngarru Miimi by Lillardia Allirra Briggs-Houston, Keema Co. by Nickeema Williams, Nungala Creative by Jessica Johnson and Sown in Time by Lynelle Flinders will showcase their collections down the runway.
Natalie Xenita, Executive Director of IMG’s fashion events group from Asia-Pacific says, “IMG is thrilled to announce our partnership with First Nations Fashion and Design. 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 globe.”
The impressive roster continues as the festivities open with Welcome to Country, a curated event that will amplify the history of the iconic event site, Carriageworks, and its link to the past and future of Indigenous Australians in solidarity. Beautiful onsite showrooms titled The Suites will also be produced as an integral part of the programme, presenting priceless networking opportunities for Indigenous Australian designers to showcase their work and connect with different industry representatives including media and buyers.
Founder and Director of First Nations Fashion and Design Indigenous Corporation Grace Lillian Lee comments, “Our country has inspired the Australian fashion and design industry for over 200 years. Our practices and native landscapes have served as 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 narrative of connection to country through fashion and design. Indigenous fashion is the future of the Australian fashion industry, and what an honour to be featured as the first Indigenous runway show at AAFW’s 25th Anniversary, amplifying Indigenous voices for the next generation and chapter in AAFW history.”
The programme also sets out to include a First Nations Fashion and Design Talk event with First Nations Fashion and Design Grace Lillian Lee and a panel discussing the future growth of the industry and its crucial role in supporting Indigenous Australian talent and the future of inclusivity and diversity within the fashion industry. The First Nations Fashion and Design Talk will be a part of Afterpay Australian Fashion Week's ongoing series of conversations titled AAFW: The Talks.