Fashion / Fashion News

These are the winners of the National Indigenous Fashion Awards for 2021

Last night we gathered, some on Larrakia Country and others virtually, for the second National Indigenous Fashion Awards (NIFA). In what was a moving ceremony, we saw six winners confirmed from over thirty nominees. The categories ranged from Textile Design to Community Collaboration.

The evening pedestaled the vitality, diversity and richness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander textiles and design. Shining a light on the creatives and communities behind it all. Award recipients were both familiar faces and emerging talent.

Congratulations to all the winners and nominees of the National Indigenous Fashion Awards. Read on to find out who they are.


Cultural Adornment and Wearable Art Award

Winner: Paul McCann (Naarm, VIC)


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Paul McCann was the break out star of this years AAFW. No doubt you'll remember his gown from June, donned by Felicia Foxx as they gave us goosebumps on the First Nations Fashion + Design runway.

The Marrithiyel designer said of his work: "I created a gown that showed Australia and the world our sovereignty, strength and resilience in the most beautiful way possible."


Fashion Design Award

Winner: Denni Francisco (Naarm, VIC)


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Wiradjuri designer Denni Francisco was the recipient of the Fashion Design Award for her label Ngali. The category is awarded to commercial fashion labels that have produced a minimum of two collections of their own original design. This could be in either clothing, jewellery or accessories.

Along with the title, Francisco also received a 12-month mentorship from Country Road. The program encompasses everything fashion business, like product development, legal, marketing and sustainability.


Textile Design Award

Winner: Eunice Napanangka Jack, Ikuntji Arts (Haasts Bluff, NT)


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Presented by RMIT University, this award recognises one of the oldest artwork forms, which is fitting for the oldest continuous culture in the world. Recipient, Eunice Napanangka Jack, is the only living founder of Ikuntji Arts and has been print-making since the 1990's.


Community Collaboration Award

Winner: Anindilyakwa Arts with Dr Aly de Groot and Anna Reynolds (Groote Eylandt, NT)

This award highlights the power of collaboration, a value central to many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island communities.

Maicie Lalara and Annabell Amagula from Anindilyakwa Arts of Groote Eylandt collaborated with designers Dr Aly de Groot and Anna Reynolds. The fruits of their labour have been presented at Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair and Country to Couture since 2017. Last year they partnered with Bendigo Art Gallery to curate a fashion exhibition which then was picked up by National Museum Australia.


Environmental and Social Contribution Award

Winner: Mylene Holroyd of Pormpuraaw Art & Culture Centre, featuring Simone Arnol (Pormpuraaw, QLD)

This award reflects the value of environmental stewardship. Drawing inspiration from Pormpuraaw Art's 'Ghost Sculpture', Mylene repurposed abandoned fish nets, used wire, cable and recycled materials to craft her designs.


Special Recognition Award

Winner: Bima Wear (Tiwi Islands, NT)


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Bima Wear's success is a story of survival. Through collective and autonomous decision making, the women in Tiwi have preserved their history of textile making, while also progressing their process and supporting their local community.

For those who missed the ceremony last night, you can re-watch the NITV live stream on Facebook.

Images: @iam_deadly_feliciafoxx, @ngali_australia

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