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MEET THE JUDGES

Cindy Rostron wears Textile Design Award nominee Jay Jurrupula Rostron from Babbarra Women’s Centre design Namurre Boko skirt (lino). Image by Marley Morgan

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Let’s meet the remarkable judges for this year’s NIFA!

Central to the success of NIFA is our esteemed panel of judges. These individuals bring their unique perspectives and expertise to the table, ensuring that NIFA not only highlight exceptional talent but also honour the cultural significance of each creation.

Launched in 2020, the National Indigenous Fashion Awards (NIFA) provide a vibrant platform to celebrate the innovation, diversity, and ethical practices of Australia’s First Nations peoples in fashion and textiles.

The award ceremony is a unique opportunity for the Australian and international fashion community to connect to the world’s oldest living cultures. Proudly supported by the Northern Territory Government through Northern Territory Major Events Company, principal media partner NITV, and award partners Country Road, RMIT, Canberra Centre, QIC, Franchesca Cubillo, Eastland and Helen Kaminski.

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Elaine George

Elaine was the first Aboriginal fashion model to appear on the cover of the Australian edition of Vogue magazine in September 1993.

Elaine George nee Tanaka is a proud Arakwal woman from the Bundjalung nation in northern NSW.

Elaine has a background in Child Protection. She has worked in many roles including Team leader, SCAN Core Member, Children’s Court Representative, Murri Court, RE Child Protection work, and Critical Friend on Panels. She is currently the Cultural Practice Lead at Key Assets Australia in Brisbane, QLD.

In 2023, Elaine features on episode one of ABC TV released The Way We Wore, a three-part documentary series of Australian fashion.

Elaine is on the board of First Nations Fashion and Design, is the Ambassador and Model Mentor for BlakList – Next Gen program, and has been recently recognised as IMG Changemaker for 2024 Australian Fashion Week.

Jalaru Photography, Blaklist, Courtesy of Elaine George

“I am truly honoured and proud to be a part of National Indigenous Fashion Awards panel in 2024. It’s been exciting to see the industry grow and First Nations fashion thriving.”

 
 
– Elaine George

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Yatu Widders-Hunt

Yatu is the General Manager at Cox Inall Ridgeway, founder of #ausindigenousfashion on Instagram & Facebook, passionate about social justice, Indigenous affairs and style. Board Member of the Australian Fashion Council.

Yatu is a member of the Dunghutti and Anaiwan peoples of the Northern Tablelands of NSW. Yatu has a background in communications, PR and community engagement. She has worked across various sectors including Government and the not for profit sector. She is currently the General Manager of Indigenous social change agency, Cox Inall Ridgeway.

In 2017, Yatu founded online community @ausindigenousfashion to celebrate the thriving First Nations fashion sector. She is a Board member on the Australian Fashion Council Board. Through her work she has collaborated with a number of organisations on First Nations Fashion and storytelling projects, including Country Road Group, Broadway Shopping Centre and NITV. She regularly speaks at conferences and in the media on issues of First Nations fashion and design.

Image Courtesy of Yatu Widders-Hunt

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Lisa Waup

Lisa is a mixed-cultural First Nations artist and curator with an extraordinary passion for the intersection of art and textiles. Waup’s artistic journey has led her to work across various mediums including fashion, body adornment, weaving, experimental print making and public art, to create pieces that transcend conventional boundaries.

In 2017 Waup collaborated with Melbourne fashion designer Ingrid Verner, together they formed LISA WAUP X VERNER, the collection debuted at Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival as part of the Global Indigenous Runway.

In 2020 Waup was a nominee in The Cultural Adornment and Wearable Art Award for the NIFA. Waup is a Lecturer in the Drawing and Printmaking Department at the Victorian College of the Arts at the University of Melbourne   

Photographer Peter Tarasuik, Courtesy of Lisa Waup

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Nimmi Premaratne

Nimmi is the Design Manager for Womenswear at Country Road, who are also sponsors of the Fashion Designer Award

With over 17 years’ experience in the fashion industry, Nimmi has played an influential role in elevating the design aesthetic of some of Australia’s most-loved brands, from contemporary labels to leading retailers.

At Country Road, she has driven the design direction for the brand’s Urban collections, building a reputation for beautiful product and quality craftsmanship. Nimmi’s strong leadership qualities and innate understanding of customer behaviour have been pivotal in the success of the Womenswear team, while her passion for purpose-led design has been instrumental in Country Road’s Good Business Journey.

Image Courtesy of Nimmi Premaratne

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SAVE THE DATE

Wednesday, 7 August, 2024

The NIFA 2024 will return to Larrakia Country this August alongside the renowned Country to Couture runway and Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair.

Banner image Mob on Country, NIFA 2024 Community Collaboration Award nominees Melissa Green, Miimi & Jiinda and Gilat Shani, Unreal Fur, Photography by Rob Hookey. Image courtesy of the nominees.