The Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair (DAAF) Foundation’s Indigenous Fashion Projects (IFP) is excited to invite you to be part of the renowned Country to Couture fashion showcase! Held alongside DAAF each year since 2016, the 9th Country to Couture is set to return to Darwin on Larrakia Country in August 2024, with the support of iconic Australian retail brand Country Road and the Northern Territory Government.
Country to Couture is a contemporary way of cultural storytelling and sharing knowledge.
The high energy runway presents innovative collections from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander designers and artists across Australia, as well as unique collaborations between Indigenous communities and well-known Australian labels. This is where First Nations fashion and textiles artistry intwine in a colourful runway of diverse design and style.
Tharrama’ (Smile), by Yarrenyty Arltere Artists, 2023. Cover: ‘Tnuntha nurnakanha’ (Our Animals), by Iltja Ntjarra Art Centre, Country to Couture 2023, Photos by Dylan Buckee.
What We're Looking For
Applications will be assessed against the following selection criteria:
- Strong collection story with cultural integrity.
- The collection shows evidence of attention to detail, with quality garment construction and fabric selection.
- Designs must be original.
- If using upcycled garments there must be proof of the garment being re-designed in some capacity (please illustrate how you have changed the structure of the garment).
Textile Design and Fabric Innovation
- Strong embodiment and reflection of Indigenous identity, history and/or culture in textile design.
- Evidence of new textile design and art.
- Use of innovative fabric selection and/or printing techniques.
- Evidence of well considered colour palettes that support the story behind the collection.
Sustainability and Ethics
- Consideration of environmental and sustainable practices when sourcing textiles, printing onto textiles, and manufacturing garments.
- Consideration of ethics pertaining to cultural safety, social impacts and protection of Indigenous Cultural Intellectual Property.
Indigenous Agency and Best Practice
- Show evidence of consultation with communities and artists in collaborations (for example, artist agreements, letter of support from artists/Art Centres, video from the artists talking about their role in the collaboration).
- Evidence of Indigenous agency throughout the entire design process. For all collaborative collections, the assessment panel needs to clearly see that artists have contributed to, and approved, each element of the collection’s development including textile design, garment design, manufacturing, packaging and labelling, marketing and sales etc.
- Evidence that financial benefits are being returned to Indigenous artist(s), Art Centre, and/or designers.
Where traditionally based cultural adornments are included as accessories to looks, adornments will be assessed against:
- Quality of finish
- Appropriate cultural acknowledgement, ownership, rights and endorsement of practice
We have a responsibility to respect and protect cultural knowledge and authenticity of cultural practice. Please note that we have a Cultural Advisory Panel who we will refer applications to in the following instances:
- If you are including cultural adornment as part of your collection, where your lineage of practice is not obvious, the panel may undertake a process to establish endorsement by your community.
- If your collection is part of a collaboration with a non-Indigenous designer, and we are unable to establish that the collaboration is ethical or based on best practices, our panel may request further information and clarification.
Things To Get Ready
You will be asked to upload a range of assets in this application. Here is a list of what will be requested. Your application is only assessed on what you provide. The assessment panel may have no prior knowledge of you and your practice so we encourage you to share as much as you can. The more information you give us, the better we can understand you, and your collection.
- Profile images of people involved in creating your collection (multiple images can be uploaded, can be individual and group images. Please ensure to label the files.)
- Images or documents that give us an idea of the collection you have created or are creating. This could include inspiration and concept boards, drawings, a look book or photos of the collection or sample garments.
- A link or upload a video of artists and designers talking about their role in the creation of the collection (this doesn’t not have to be fancy or well edited! Hearing directly from designers and artists involved is really amazing).
- If there have been any Indigenous artist’s artworks licensed to create your collection, please upload any relevant artist agreement pertaining to your collection, and/or a letter of support from a relevant organisation, eg Copyright Agency, Arts Law or Indigenous Art Code, or an Art Centre.
- If you are a non-Indigenous designer or collaborator completing this application, please upload a letter of support from the Indigenous creative you have worked with to produce this collection.
Who Can Apply
- Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander independent designers and Art Centres.
- Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island independent designers and Art Centres in ethical collaborations with non-Indigenous designers/labels where there is full agency and involvement of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander applicants in the design process.
Collaborations with Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander artists and their artwork must provide a licensing agreement as evidence of the commissioning process.
Applications close on Friday 17 November 2023
Our team are here to support you. If you have any questions regarding the selection criteria please reach out to us on firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll help answer your questions!
As part of the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Foundation’s Indigenous Fashion Projects (IFP)
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