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Meet the designers and artists behind the collections in Country to Couture’s show 2.

Boundless

Always was, always will be.

From the desert to the sea, Country holds us, teaches us.

Our fashion is a celebration of our cultural stories, from traditional materials, to streetwear, to couture.

Blak Sand

 By Salt Water Murris Quandamooka Art Gallery 

Yarabinjara Sea Country

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The mission of Salt Water Murris Quandamooka Inc (SWMQ) is to promote and preserve the cultural heritage of the Nunagal, Ngugi, and Goenbal peoples of Quandamooka Country. By operating a strong and sustainable Aboriginal contemporary visual art centre, SWMQ facilitates cultural productions and professional development opportunities for Quandamooka artists. These artists serve as the storytellers of their community, conveying individual and collective memories through their artistic works and dance performances.

Their latesy collection, Yarabinjara Sea Country, reflects stories passed down from mother to daughter, highlighting cultural relationships and familial connections to Quandamooka Yarabinjara – Ngaliya (Our) Sea Country. Documented by artist and author Dr. Sandra Delaney, the designs feature the tjuleen shell used by Mirapul, the wind caller, and depict the family’s knowledge of the land and sea of Quandamooka Country. 

“Salt Water Murri Quandamooka’s participation [in Country to Couture] is seen as a significant opportunity to connect with First Nations arts and culture in contemporary ways through showcase our visual stories on textiles.  Given that Quandamooka youth arts workers are involved in this event will help them to be inspired and to provide them with professional development opportunities. Wearable art is a highly visible platform for young Quandamooka people to see First Nations role models and the celebration of art and culture at events. Investment in textile design for wearable art is an investment in the social and emotional wellbeing of Quandamooka young people aspiring to be artists and arts workers.The project is an opportunity to support artists and arts workers to be community leaders and role models.” – Salt Water Murris Quandamooka.

“Our stories handed down by our family include ceremonies, teachings, and cultural practices that have always been and will always be. While they still are there, new ways of sharing culture emerge..new stories, new artforms to pass on knowledge. Our designs are a new way of speaking and it stems from the foundation of what always has been.”

 

– Salt Water Murris Quandamooka

Bula’bula Arts x Black Cat Couture

Lomuyirr – Soar

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Proudly Yolngu; Bula’bula Arts, is situated in Ramingining within Gurrwiliny (Arafura wetlands) and is part of Northeast Arnhem Land. Their mission is to foster Yolngu culture. Bula’bula represents strong professional artists producing high quality artworks telling stories of cultural lore learned through song and dance.

Black Cat Couture (NT) is a Darwin based clothing designer specialising in Top End Indigenous textiles. Marcia Russell, the person behind the brand, loves using vintage sewing patterns in her work and she often combines the aesthetic of the 1950s – 1990s with First Nations fabrics to create interesting and unique outfits. Since 2017 Marcia has been working in remote NT communities teaching women and young people how to sew and working with Art Centres to create vibrant fashion collections to showcase their wonderful art and textiles.

Lomuyirr – Soar draws inspiration from the breathtaking flight of birds, bats, and butterflies in Ramingining. Celebrating these magnificent creatures, Black Cat Couture has crafted a stunning collection featuring garments adorned with hand-painted and screen-printed elements by Yolngu artists.

“Being able to work alongside Bula’bula artists and work on this collection on Country is a truly enriching opportunity. I am proud to be able to bring my design and sewing skills to the ‘Lomuyirr – Soar’ project and support local creative talent.” – Marcia Russell, Black Cat Couture.

“Bula’Bula Arts takes great pride in collaborating with Black Cat Couture for the ‘Lomuyirr – Soar’ collection, furthering our mission to foster and share Yolngu culture. We are thrilled to contribute to this esteemed, national event, standing alongside other First Nation talents.”

 

– Bula’bula Arts

Buluuy Mirrii

by Colleen Tighe Johnson

Miyaaymiyaay (Seven Sisters)

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Fashion Designer Colleen Tighe Johnson founded Buluuy Mirrii in 2008. A proud Gomeroi Yinarr from rural Moree, NSW, now residing in Tamworth, NSW, Colleen harnesses her creative talents to revive Gomeroi Dreaming Stories through fashion. Each collection is a visual expression of Aboriginal culture and collaboration. Buluuy Mirrii, meaning ‘black star’ in Gamilaraay, weaves the past, present, and future of Aboriginal culture, respect for mother earth, and sustainable practices. The brand’s core values are respect, family, culture, pride, and community, showcasing Gomeroi Dreaming Stories to a global audience with a growing appetite for Aboriginal design.

“Being part of Country to Couture is a privilege… Buluuy Mirrii’s Seven Sisters collection has the opportunity to showcase alongside other First Nations designer’s sharing their stories, label’s and designs on this prestige platform.” – Colleen Tighe Johnson.

“Being apart of Country to Couture is a privilege…Buluuy Mirrii’s Seven Sisters collection has the opportunity to showcase alongside other First Nations designer’s sharing their stories, label’s and designs on this prestige platform.”

 

– Colleen Tighe Johnson

Djarli Creative

By Corina Jadai

Juri

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Corina Jadai, an Indigenous contemporary artist from the Bidydanga Community, blends cultural heritage with modern expression in her work, spanning graphic design, fashion, and resin art. Inspired by the desert and ocean, her creations reflect the beauty and wisdom of nature, infused with ancestral spirit. Jarli, named after her great-grandmother, is a resort wear brand that celebrates cultural identity and unity, offering vibrant Indigenous garments that empower and foster belonging.

Inspired by the timeless allure of the turtle shell pattern, Juri combines sophistication and natural grace. Featuring oceanic hues and luxurious fabrics, each piece is a modern interpretation of classic elegance. Meticulous craftsmanship ensures every garment is a masterpiece, embracing the harmony of tradition and modernity. This collection invites all to experience the serene spirit of coastal living with effortless elegance.

“Country, Community, Culture – the sacred trinity that breathes life into my work. Each element intertwines, guiding my designs with the wisdom of the land, the strength of community bonds, and the richness of cultural heritage. From the earth beneath my feet to the stories whispered by ancestors, every stitch and stroke is a tribute to the interconnectedness of all three. In honouring Country, uplifting Community, and preserving Culture, my creations become more than just garments – they are of a timeless legacy, woven with love.” – Corina Jadai

“Being part of Country to Couture is a great honour, a journey where tradition meets innovation, and our cultural heritage takes center stage. It’s a platform to weave our stories into threads of beauty, to showcase the richness of our ancestry, and to redefine fashion with authenticity and pride. Here, we celebrate not just garments, but the resilience and creativity of Indigenous peoples, carving out a space where our voices resonate loudly and proudly across the runway.”

 

– Corina Jadai

Ikuntji Artists

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Ikuntji Artists is a member-based, non-profit Aboriginal art centre located in Haasts Bluff (Ikuntji), with a board of seven Indigenous directors from the local community of around 150 people. The artists draw inspiration from their personal ngurra (country) and Tjukurrpa (Dreaming), interpreting ancestral stories with traditional symbols and motifs. Their diverse artistic styles range from naive to highly abstract. Over its 27-year history, Ikuntji Artists has made a significant impact in the fine art world while serving as a cultural hub, reinforcing and revitalizing local cultural practices through art.

The garments in their latest collection feature textiles hand-printed with designs by artists, who come from diverse backgrounds but all live and work in Ikuntji (Haasts Bluff).

Magpie Goose x Ewyenper Atwatye

By artists Christopher McMillan, Bianca Turner, Janelle McMillan, Cassandra Neil and Stella McMillan

 

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Magpie Goose is owned and managed by Amanda Hayman (Wakka Wakka/Kalkadoon) and Troy Casey (Kamilaroi). As an Aboriginal-owned social enterprise the focus is on creating impact – through economic opportunities, storytelling and conscious fashion. They collaborate with Aboriginal artists in regional and remote communities to create statement clothing. Their unique garments are hand screen printed on natural fibres and ethically made in Australia.

Ewyenper Atwatye is the Central Arrernte place name for Hidden Valley, based in Mparntwe (Alice Springs).

“Ewyenper is the spearwood tree on the hills and Atwatye means gap because the camp is between two hills.” –  Tim McNamara.

In 2015, the art centre established a textile enterprise called Hidden Valley Town Camp. It is a satellite project of Tangentyere Artists. They are known to produce high-quality screen printed textiles and are the creators of the very popular “Bush car take you everywhere” T-shirt. With a recognisable style of bold line work, and comic-like images mixed with text.

Left: Animal all sorts Collaboration : Dellina Inkamala, Dianne Inkamala, Vanessa Inkamala, Delray Inkamala, Mandy Malbunka, Rhona Jones, Teresa Wilson, Lucinda Forrest, David Foster, Donald Kelly, Amanda Long. Artistic Dire c tor : Dellina Inkamala Designer : Koren Wheatley (Iltja Ntjarra ’ s Studio manager) Seamstress: Nghia Pham Model: Nicole Inkamala Photographe r: Klint Buzzacott (Iltja Ntjarra ’ s Arts worker) Right: Bird dress artist: Mandy Malbunka Artistic Dire c tor : Dellina Inkamala Designer : Koren Wheatley (Iltja Ntjarra ’ s Studio manager) Seamstress: Nghia Pham Model: Christine Woods Photographe r: Klint Buzzacott (Iltja Ntjarra ’ s Art worker)

“Being part of Country to Couture means celebrating the rich tapestry of Indigenous culture through vibrant designs, weaving stories of our land and heritage into every stitch.”

– Magpie Goose

Nagula Jarndu

By artists Rowena Morgan, Martha Lee, Amanda Rose Lee, Marie Manado, Mareeya Pigram, Dena Gower, Connie Clinch, The late Mrs. Djiagween and The late Miss Chiguna

gujarra yangarrjin (two coming together)

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Nagula Jarndu (Saltwater Woman) art centre is on Yawuru Country, Rubibi Broome. The artists work predominantly in hand printed textiles- block and screenprinting and tell stories of their culture and country through this medium. We work in a sustainable, slow fashion way, creating small collections manufactured in Australia, limiting waste by repurposing all the offcuts of fabric into smaller items.

Kimberley Wedding is a collection paying homage to Country, the land on which people stand when they make the commitment to come together and marry, celebrating not only the beautiful union of two people, but acknowledging the country on which they stand as part of the ceremony.

Left: Animal all sorts Collaboration : Dellina Inkamala, Dianne Inkamala, Vanessa Inkamala, Delray Inkamala, Mandy Malbunka, Rhona Jones, Teresa Wilson, Lucinda Forrest, David Foster, Donald Kelly, Amanda Long. Artistic Dire c tor : Dellina Inkamala Designer : Koren Wheatley (Iltja Ntjarra ’ s Studio manager) Seamstress: Nghia Pham Model: Nicole Inkamala Photographe r: Klint Buzzacott (Iltja Ntjarra ’ s Arts worker) Right: Bird dress artist: Mandy Malbunka Artistic Dire c tor : Dellina Inkamala Designer : Koren Wheatley (Iltja Ntjarra ’ s Studio manager) Seamstress: Nghia Pham Model: Christine Woods Photographe r: Klint Buzzacott (Iltja Ntjarra ’ s Art worker)

“Country to Couture is an opportunity to create fashion from culture and to tell stories about who we are and what we feel connected to through a collection of clothing.”

 

– Nagula Jarndu

Northern Peninsula Area (NPA) Art Centre

Big Colours

By artists Renae Nona, Joy Tapau, Colina Wymarra, Leighann Ober

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The Northern Peninsula Area Art Centre serves as a platform where fashion becomes a powerful medium for representing two distinct cultures. Here, women collaborate to create collectively while expressing their individual artistic visions on silk. This unique approach not only celebrates cultural diversity but also showcases the artistic talents of the community, bridging traditions and contemporary expressions through fashion.

The art centre specialises in hand-painted silk garments, distinguishing its creations in the fashion landscape. Women artists at the centre collaborate seamlessly, blending their collective creativity with personal artistic styles woven into each piece of silk art. A significant aspiration of the artists has been to design fashion that embraces and celebrates the beauty of larger women. With dedication and skill, they have successfully realized this vision, offering garments that empower and enhance the confidence of all women who wear them.

“Country is the land and sea that we live on and are surrounded by.” – Northern Peninsula Area Art Centre.

Left: Animal all sorts Collaboration : Dellina Inkamala, Dianne Inkamala, Vanessa Inkamala, Delray Inkamala, Mandy Malbunka, Rhona Jones, Teresa Wilson, Lucinda Forrest, David Foster, Donald Kelly, Amanda Long. Artistic Dire c tor : Dellina Inkamala Designer : Koren Wheatley (Iltja Ntjarra ’ s Studio manager) Seamstress: Nghia Pham Model: Nicole Inkamala Photographe r: Klint Buzzacott (Iltja Ntjarra ’ s Arts worker) Right: Bird dress artist: Mandy Malbunka Artistic Dire c tor : Dellina Inkamala Designer : Koren Wheatley (Iltja Ntjarra ’ s Studio manager) Seamstress: Nghia Pham Model: Christine Woods Photographe r: Klint Buzzacott (Iltja Ntjarra ’ s Art worker)

“[Country to Couture]…is an opportunity to find a greater market.”

 

– Northern Peninsula Area (NPA) Art Centre

Eleraze

By Sonya Coleman, Amna Qureshi, Melanie Sarantou, Eleanor Coleman, Sonearae Bilney, Chante Bilney, Azarni Coleman, Mark Richards

Warna – Tide before Time 

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EleRaze is a collaborative effort led by Sonya and her family. The artists behind the collection Warna – Tide before Time, include Eleanor Coleman, Sonearae Bilney, Chante Bilney, Azarni Coleman, and Mark Richards.

Based in Ceduna (Tjutjuna), SA, Sonya, a Wirangu/Kokatha/Mirning woman, draws inspiration from the beauty of the Far West Coast. She receives support from Amna Qureshi, who specialises in digital textile designs, and Melanie Sarantou, a master designer in media art and fashion design, both originally from Pakistan and Namibia respectively.

Ceduna-based artists Hannah Lee Nicholls and Frew-Anne Halbert further enhance Sonya’s artistic journey.

Their collaboration has transformed Sonya’s art into textiles and garments, marking a significant creative evolution.

Left: Animal all sorts Collaboration : Dellina Inkamala, Dianne Inkamala, Vanessa Inkamala, Delray Inkamala, Mandy Malbunka, Rhona Jones, Teresa Wilson, Lucinda Forrest, David Foster, Donald Kelly, Amanda Long. Artistic Dire c tor : Dellina Inkamala Designer : Koren Wheatley (Iltja Ntjarra ’ s Studio manager) Seamstress: Nghia Pham Model: Nicole Inkamala Photographe r: Klint Buzzacott (Iltja Ntjarra ’ s Arts worker) Right: Bird dress artist: Mandy Malbunka Artistic Dire c tor : Dellina Inkamala Designer : Koren Wheatley (Iltja Ntjarra ’ s Studio manager) Seamstress: Nghia Pham Model: Christine Woods Photographe r: Klint Buzzacott (Iltja Ntjarra ’ s Art worker)

“My Collection is a representation of my Country, through the eyes of Generations.”

 

– Sonya Coleman

Yarrenyty Arltere Artists

By artists Marlene Rubuntja, Dulcie Sharpe, Rhonda Sharpe, Roxanne Petrick, Louise Robertson and Helen Ebatarinja

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Yarrenyty Arltere Artists is a vital place for the community of Yarrenyty Arltere Town Camp in Mparntwe (Alice Springs).

Working in soft sculpture, textiles, work on paper and film, this vibrant Art Center as part of Tangentyere Council, has given opportunity and voice and income to people that too often find themselves marginalised.

Rich in personality and defiance, Yarrenyty Arltere Artists continues to be shaped by the artists that hold it strongly and proudly as their own. It is a place where people come together to make art, work out problems, look after family and plan for their future.

Left: Animal all sorts Collaboration : Dellina Inkamala, Dianne Inkamala, Vanessa Inkamala, Delray Inkamala, Mandy Malbunka, Rhona Jones, Teresa Wilson, Lucinda Forrest, David Foster, Donald Kelly, Amanda Long. Artistic Dire c tor : Dellina Inkamala Designer : Koren Wheatley (Iltja Ntjarra ’ s Studio manager) Seamstress: Nghia Pham Model: Nicole Inkamala Photographe r: Klint Buzzacott (Iltja Ntjarra ’ s Arts worker) Right: Bird dress artist: Mandy Malbunka Artistic Dire c tor : Dellina Inkamala Designer : Koren Wheatley (Iltja Ntjarra ’ s Studio manager) Seamstress: Nghia Pham Model: Christine Woods Photographe r: Klint Buzzacott (Iltja Ntjarra ’ s Art worker)

SAVE THE DATE

Tuesday, 6 August, 2024

Country to Couture 2024 will return to Larrakia Country this August alongside the renowned National Indigenous Fashion Awards and Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair.