Country to Couture 2020, Behind the Scenes with Katena Valastro

We’d like to take a moment to introduce you to one of the creative minds behind the Country to Couture 2020 showcase, which took on the form of two intimate gatherings across the country, and a national broadcast spilling into 2021!

Showcasing six collections, celebrating First Nations fashion and textiles, in two unique locations, we’d like to congratulate the whole team on an amazing job.

Meet Katena Valastro, our Event Manager and Creative Director for Country to Couture 2020 in Darwin!

Tell us a little about you! Where are you based, your background and experience in the fashion & art industry?

I am a local Darwin woman, based in Darwin, my mob are originally from Nyikina (Kimberley region) and Wakaya (Barkley region). 

My first fashion show was a business project in Year 12 ‘Twisted Guys Fashion Parade’ which I later won a business award for. All through my life I was a dancer and loved all things fashion, art, dance, music, painting, and theatre. 

I went on to complete a double degree in Commerce and Arts majoring in Arts Management and minored in Dance and Performance. 

My passion and inspiration always came from Indigenous culture with its unique and valuable history. 

Image | Katena Valastro with creative consultant Ben Graetz at Country to Couture 2020, photo credit George F Photography.

Image | Katena Valastro speaking to models wearing Bima Wear x Nobody Denim collection, Country to Couture 2020, photo credit George F Photography.

Image | Models on runway wearing Ikuntji Artists x Magpie Goose collection, Country to Couture 2020, photo credit George F Photography.

What was your role in Country to Couture 2020 and how did you come to be involved in the event?

Country to Couture was originally introduced to me by another First Nations Darwin friend. After learning more about the event I was extremely interested in being involved and was honoured to be offered the opportunity to be a part of it. 

I was responsible for the organisation and successful delivery of the event. As well as organising and running the event, I also embraced the creative director side on all things, models, runway choreography, hair and makeup and designer collections.

What excites you about First Nations fashion & textile design, and what do you hope to see for the future? 

As Australia and the world begin to embrace Aboriginal culture, I hope to see First Nations people take full ownership and control of their evolving talents and success. 

Through art, we share so many stories and are inspired by a culture over 40 000 years old. It is through this that we communicate and express ourselves, a vulnerability that deserves to be truly cherished and understood. 

With thousands of languages around the world, no matter what language you speak, fashion and art can resonate with so many of us. First Nations fashion and textile design is on a wonderful journey and I am excited to watch it grow.  

Find out More… 

Take a peek at Katena’s work, and watch the Country to Couture 2020 runway in full via the Facebook Broadcast HERE 

And if you’d like to know more or get in touch, you can connect with Katena on Linkedin.

We’d also like to once again thank our incredible supporters at Northern Territory Government via NT Major Events, and Country Road.

Images | Katena Valastro behind the Scenes Country to Couture 2020, photo credit Savvy Social, Katena Valastro being interviewed at Country to Couture 2020, photo credit George F Photography.

Image | Katena Valastro with Ben Graetz and the Larrakia Dance Mob who performed the Welcome to Country at Country to Couture 2020, photo credit George F Photography.