This June will mark a historic milestone on the Australian fashion calendar, for the first time ever, six First Nations designers are set to showcase their collections on the runway at Afterpay Australian Fashion Week (AAFW) in Sydney.

Presented by Indigenous Fashion Projects (IFP), a Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Foundation program, partnering with IMG Fashion and David Jones, and curated by Perina Drummond, stylist and founder of Jira modeling agency, the runway will bring together some of the nation’s most talented and highly awarded Indigenous designers to celebrate its long overdue position on the mainstage.

Drummond says the significance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander fashion being represented at a national level reaches beyond the designers showing at the event and into the rich history of the communities from which those designers come.

Perina Drummond

“Paying homage to Indigenous women across our country, and celebrating our journey to where we are today, is the key narrative behind this show.

We are showcasing Indigenous fashion labels founded by Indigenous women – something that once upon a time would not have been possible. Not forgetting our history, this is a moment in time worth celebrating.

Speaking with each label, there is quite a buzz for the show, and I’m thrilled to be styling their collections, soaking up their culture and stories behind their label!”


Perina Drummond, IFP Runway Stylist and Founder of Jira modelling agency.

The six featured First Nations designers are all actively growing fashion brands, and are part of the IFP Pathways Program supported by David Jones.

The IFP Pathways Program was created together with David Jones with the aim of opening up opportunities for Indigenous labels through direct mentorships with the department store’s established Australian designers.

“In recent years, we’ve seen Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander fashion and design rapidly gain mass attention, both locally and overseas creating a unique and exciting opportunity for us to connect brands directly with established Australian labels to share skills and develop as businesses.

Our program with David Jones is designed to help foster vital relationships with access to industry networks whilst also creating an environment for Indigenous designers to learn from experts the skills needed to help nurture the growth of their business.

Importantly, the program also facilitates a mutual two-way learning process whereby both designers are given the space to listen and share culture and stories with one another.”


Dave Giles-Kaye, Indigenous Fashion Projects Manager.


The Participating Designers:

Celebrating the diversity of more than 250 different First Nations cultures across Australia, each designer uniquely incorporates the millennia of ancient stories and cultures with contemporary design in a beautifully and sustainably crafted execution.

Maara Collective

by Julie Shaw

Mentored by Charlotte Hicks of Esse Studios and Kit Willow of KitX.

Native Swimwear

by Natalie Cunningham

Mentored by Becky Cooper and Bridget Yorston of Bec + Bridge.

Denni Francisco Founder and Creative Director of Ngali


by Denni Francisco

Mentored by Mary Lou Ryan and Deborah Sams of Bassike.

Liandra Swim

by Liandra Gaykamangu

Mentored by Bianca Spender.

indii swim


by Nancy Pattison

Mentored by Pip Edwards and Claire Tregoning of P.E Nation.


by Amanda Healy

Mentored by Adrian Norris and Edwina Forest of Aje.


The Runway and Showroom

The Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Foundation acknowledges that this event will take place on Gadigal Land in Redfern, Sydney.
The runway showcase will be presented at AAFW on 3rd June, 1:30pm in Gallery 1 at Carriageworks.
Each of the designers will also be showcasing their collections as part of The Suites from the 2-4th June.

For event details and ticketing, refer to the AAFW website: 

For more information, quotes and interviews please contact Bastion Effect:
Stephanie McMullin | 0447 582 557 | stephanie@bastioneffect.com

Banner Image | Liandra Swim, Collection Interwoven, Model Shakira Cooper, Photographer Leicolhn McKellar.

Other Imagery in order of appearance | 1) Perina Drummmond, courtesy of Perina Drummond. 2) MAARA Collective designer Julie Shaw, photo by Daniel Sponiar, 3) Native Swimwear collection by designer Natalie Cunningham, featuring work by artist Judy Napangardi Watson – Mina Mina, models Jade Knightingale and Kyra Duffy, Photo by Peter Trainer, Make-up Artist Liz Kramer at Icon Studios. 4) Denni Francisco Founder and Creative Director of Ngali​. 5) Liandra Swim designer Liandra Gaykamangu. 6) Indii collection by Nancy Pattison. 7) Kirrikin designer Amanda Healy.