fbpx

Country to Couture is back, and bigger than ever! We are thrilled to introduce the amazing line-up of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander designers and artists who’ll be part of the SOLD OUT shows!

The annual showcase of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander fashion and textile design returns for its 7th iteration on the 2 August, alongside the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair and National Indigenous Fashion Awards on Larrakia Country.

This year we are excited to celebrate 18 fashion collections across two different shows! 

Country to Couture is proudly brought to you by the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Foundation (DAAFF) as part of the Indigenous Fashion Projects (IFP), and is supported by the Northern Territory Government, and the iconic Australian lifestyle brand Country Road, with thanks to Darwin Festival and media partner Mamamia!

 Banner Image | (L-R) Hayley Mulardy in ‘linygurra’ shorts and Gerogia King in ‘Jila’ shorts. Photo by Michael Jalaru Torres

SHOW 1

Gapuwiyak Culture and Arts

In collaboration with Aly de Groote

About

Gapuwiyak Culture and Arts is a remote Art Centre in East Arnhemland.

They are owned by Yolŋu members, have a Yolŋu Board, and employ a Manager and Arts Workers. They support over one hundred artists from Gapuwiyak and surrounding homelands.

Gapuwiyak is a small, Yolŋu town in the middle of Miyarrka, a region around Arnhem Bay. There are eighteen clans in the region each with their own interconnected clan estates, songs, patterns and designs.

The Art Centre assists artists in collecting and prepare materials, make high-quality art, explore ideas, develop knowledge and skills, exhibit, market, and sell their work.

Hopevale Arts & Culture

In collaboration with QUT

About

This is the fifth year of collaboration between the HopeVale Art Centre and Fashion students from QUT.

This is the first time that the artists are hand-painting the clothes, rather than the clothes being made from art printed textile. The artists have responded to all-white garments designed and made in a way that allows them to be flattened for painting. A variety of painterly techniques as well as dip dye and spray dyeing to get background colour have been used, with each artist’s own aesthetic front and centre.

This collection is called MAGIIL, meaning branches. It signifies the deep connection to country, but the freedom to grow in an individual way.

Injalak Arts

with Lily Durland with contribution by Ally Beahan and Sister Buffalo

Find out More
About

Injalak Arts is an Aboriginal-owned organisation with the community of Gunbalanya at its heart. Injalak meaning shelter in Kunwinkju – is a beacon of activity and socialising. It is the home to many amazing artists that explore creativity through paintings, carving, weaving and screen-printing.

Screen printing has been an instrumental part of Injalak Arts’ success for the past 20 years and has contributed to the growth of many artists.

Injalak Arts in collaboration with Sister Buffalo’s collection will embody the Kunwarddebim (rock art) that are in the rock galleries around West Arhnem land. Injalak’s co-founder Gabriel Maralngurra said

“I get ideas …from the rock art to make my designs. I want people to feel the spirits and the elders who were doing those styles when they look at my paintings. I want them to feel and touch how it was done, to see the past continuing in the present.”

Kunwarddebim wishes to encapsulate the magic of the rock art and honour how important it has and always will be for the kunwinjku people. 

 

About

Juluwarlu Group Aboriginal Corporation was established by senior Yindjibarndi Elders and artists in Roebourne, Western Australia as a way to record, archive and share their history, culture and stories. In 2017 they started the art centre, Juluwarlu Art Group which gave the artists a space to work and create art exploring contemporary and traditional creative practices that include painting, weaving, sculpture and puppet making. As Juluwarlu grows, they are constantly seeking more ways to reach new audiences and share stories. Their new collection inspired them to explore product development, where they use original artworks to create range of merchandise that celebrate Yindjibarndi creativity and culture, not only to extend story telling but also to create alternative streams of income for their artists.

Juluwarlu are an authentic Aboriginal owned and operated enterprise. Artists are paid royalties from every sale and all proceeds go directly back into supporting the aspirations and wellbeing of the Yindjibarndi artists, community and people.

About

Yarrenyty Arltere Artists is a vital place for the community of Yarrenyty Arltere Town Camp in Mparntwe (Alice Springs). There people make art, work out problems, look after family and plan for their future. This small but vibrant Art Centre is a place where people are recognised for what they can do, not what they cannot do. There people can be seen as leaders, creators, role models and artists. Working in soft sculpture, textiles, works on paper, and film this vibrant Art Centre has given opportunity, voice and income to people that too often find themselves marginalized.

House of Darwin

By Shaun Edwards in collaboration with Luna Tunes

About

House of Darwin is a social enterprise, their purpose is to reinvest profits back into social programs in remote Indigenous communities.

We exist to inspire, educate and cultivate change within the two worlds of Australia.

House of Darwin partner with grass roots organisations to enable change, using creative storytelling as their medium.

Luna Tunes is non indigenous illustrator from Melbourne and Shaun Edwards is a Larrakia man from Darwin who founded House of Darwin.

Ngali

By Denni Francisco in collaboration with Lindsay Malay from Warmun Art

Find out More
About

Ngali is a sustainable fashion label that works with Aboriginal and Torres Strait artists to translate artworks onto premium-quality clothing and collectibles. Some of Australia’s most talented Indigenous artists live in places you’ve never heard of and maybe you’ll never see. Ngali helps bring their unique artwork to the world by taking it beyond wall display and onto garments to walk the streets and show up in a myriad of places around the world. 

Ngali’s current collection features newly translated artworks from emerging Giji artist Linday Malay in collaboration with the Warmun Art Centre in the Kimberley region of Australia.

Show 2

About

A beautifully curated collection of hand woven fibre art has been delicately created by 11 master weavers from the Saltwater Freshwater region of the Mid North Coast of NSW.

Each garment in the Saltwater Freshwater collection is interwoven with story. All materials used relate to the culture and Country of the individual weavers. The materials vary from traditionally used resources of lomandra, fig root, shells, ochre and feather, to the contemporary; wools, silks, plastic, metal, hessian, paint and raffia. All the traditional materials have meaning. Each design holds true to Country and directly connects the weavers to their ancestors. Weaver and Designer Joedie Lawler says,

“The ongoing cultural expression connects us to our ancestors and to think about how they felt when you’re being held by, and wearing Country, and knowing that we carry that wisdom as Aboriginal women. As women we show the strength in our connection to our culture through the stories we share. As women we are the foundations, the teachers to our children. We will ensure that our culture survives, reviving our stories in modern contemporary ways.”

This project has been a powerful spiritual journey for these women and the experience has created a bond that they will carry throughout their lives.

About

Nagula Jarndu (Saltwater Woman) is an Indigenous women’s art centre on Yawuru land in Broome, with a focus on contemporary textiles. It has been in operation for over 20 years. The women use hand-block printed techniques, particularly lino and styrofoam, to produce textiles that draw on their cultural knowledge and stories.

Their collection is called ‘Buru (Country) Healing’, which speaks of the connections to Buru and the strong ties they have with Country. Being on Country makes them strong in their bodies and minds and gives them good ‘liyan’ (heart feeling). The collection honours Country and thanks it for providing everything that sustains us-bush tukka, water and healing energy. The clothing is designed simply to let the images ‘speak’. They have worked with women from The Social Studio who are from other cultures, to share cultural knowledge and find connections which informs the 3 ‘one off’ pieces in the collection.

KAMARA

In collaboration with Matakupaat Arts

Find out More
About

Founders of Kamara Australia, Naomi Collings and Kirsty Parnell, introduce their collection “JOY”.

JOY immerses us in a new world. It’s a journey for strong spirits, filled with new opportunities and surprises. Each distinctive piece is an homage to the strength of community, the beauty of our environment, and the promise of brighter days ahead. ‘JOY has a story of happiness, peace and protection. A design to celebrate who we are, and our connection with each other and with our planet – the living environment we care for and which cares for us,’ says Naomi.

Collaborating on a special piece with fellow First Nations creative Kenita-Lee McCartney from Matakupaat Arts. Working together to create a limited edition design, the MIM one piece. MIM features colourful symbols of orange and pink contrasting with a classic black background.

“MIM was created to express my connection to my ancestors through design,” says Kenita-Lee.

“These symbols are my representation of my ancestor’s strength and the guidance they show me. They symbolize resilience, love, connection, spirituality, and watching over us.”

Always looking for a unique way to collaborate with other local businesses, JOY sees KAMARA refining concepts with in-demand Sydney-based artist Bella Bruzzese. Specialising in innovative print and textile design, Bella calls internationally-acclaimed artists Katy Perry, Cardi B, Kelly Rowland and Tones and I amongst her past clients.

Gantharri

By Bobbi Lockyer

About

Gantharri is by proud Ngarluma, Kariyarra, Nyulnyul & Yawuru woman and NAIDOC Artist of the Year 2021 Bobbi Lockyer.

Gantharri means both “Queen Bee” and “Grandmother” in Ngarluma language, Gantharri is a labour of love, combining Bobbi’s passion for design with her flair for fashion and photography and is a tribute to her grandmother, the original Queen Bee. As the sole creative mind behind Gantharri, Bobbi pride herself on working on all aspects of the label, from the design to the clothing development and photography.

“I wanted to focus my designs on being inclusive and gender fluid. Really emphasising that cisgender, transgender and non-binary people can feel comfortable in my designs. I have designed the collection to have multiple sizes in one rather than a standard size 8. My designs are a mix of flowy and fitted. By incorporating mix sizes in the one size we are being sustainable by reducing waste in pattern making and construction. My goal for my fashion label is to include all sizes.” said Bobbi.

DandalooSu

By Su Lousick

Find out More

More To Come..

About

More Too Come…

Buluuy Mirrii 

By Colleen Tighe Johnson

About

Colleen Tighe Johnson is a proud Gomeroi Yinarr from Moree, New South Wales, living in Tamworth. Colleen uses her talents to harness the spirit of her Gomeroi ancestors and revive Gomeroi Dreaming Stories through her label, Buluuy Mirrii (Black Star in her Gamilaraay language).

The label Buluuy Mirrii celebrates a range of Aboriginal talents. Commissioned Gomeroi artworks are transformed into fabric patterns by a Gomeroi graphic designer, printed on luxury fabrics and sewn into one-off garments. 

Her label, Buluuy Mirrii promotes and revives important aspects of Gomeroi culture in each runway show, allowing the international fashion audience to learn some of Gomeroi cultural richness through music and storytelling which tell the stories behind each garment.

 

Tiwi Design

In collaboration with Ossom

Find out More
About

Tiwi Design and slow fashion brand Ossom create a dramatic and sensual collection called Glory, mixing eternal elegance of black and white with all shades of red. Embellished with gold and silver, this collection is a celebration of brashness and bling, patina and shine, faux and true.

Inspired by roaring 20s, B&W movie stars together with the influence of Rotko and Malevich paintings, the collection plays with lightness and femininity of flowy fabrics mixed with masculine tailoring. Mixing silk and cotton, tenderness and rough edges, it represents modern approach to clothing, making it sensual and genderless at the same time.

The Glory Collection was proudly made with permission and under the supervision of the Tiwi Design Art Centre by a non-Indigenous designer. Tiwi Design is one of the oldest and most artistically diverse art centres in Australia and produces ochre paintings on canvas and bark, ironwood carvings, screen printed fabrics, ceramics, bronze, and glass sculptures as well as limited edition prints. Tiwi Design’s aim is to promote, preserve and enrich Tiwi culture. All fashion designs are created by slow fashion brand Ossom designer Olga Bryukhovets and handmade in her studio in Brisbane.

Linda Puna

From Mimili Maku Arts in collaboration with Unreal Fur

 
About

Linda Puna is a Yankunytjatjara artist living in the remote community of Mimili on the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands. As a founding member of Mimili Maku Arts, Linda began bringing her stories to the canvas in 2006. Her paintings often combine Tjukurpa and figurative depictions of everyday community life. As the first Anangu woman to live in a remote community whilst being dependent on an electric wheelchair, Linda shares a unique perspective on life in her artwork – full of joy, resilience, and strength.

In 2021 Linda co-designed her first collection of outerwear in collaboration with Melbourne-based ethical fashion label UnrealFur.

“My name is Linda Puna. I am a Yankunytjatjara woman from the APY Lands. I’ve been creating unique paintings in my own aesthetic for many years. This year, I am presenting my own fashion line, jackets designed in collaboration with Unreal Fur, and brought to life with my artwork. I am so excited about sharing my art on these jackets! It will bring joy to people in cities all around the world. I am happy to be showing the young women in my community what they can achieve through their art and by being proud in their culture!” said Linda.

Ikuntji Artists 

In collaboration with Black Cat Couture

Find out More
About

Ikuntji Artists was first established in 1992 under the influence of the then community president, the late Esther Jugadai. The art centre was initially set up to fulfil the role of women’s centre providing services such as catering for old people and children in the community. The artists began producing acrylic paintings on linen and handmade paper, which quickly gained the attention of the Australian and international art world as well as earning the centre an impressive reputation for fine art. The focus changed from a women’s centre to an art centre in 2005 with the incorporation of the art centre as Ikuntji Artists Aboriginal Corporation.

Ikuntji Artists started working with Black Cat Couture after the successful ‘Frock On!’ event in 2021. After noting the respect in which Marcia Russell (Black Cat Couture) worked with the Ikuntji fabrics, a partnership was established. In collaboration with Ikuntji Artists, Black Cat Couture crafts exquisite one-off, 100% ethically made pieces celebrating the designs and materials of Ikuntji Artists textiles. These fabrics are created from works completed at screen printing workshops at the Ikuntji Artists art centre. The artists paint directly onto clear film which is then digitised and exposed onto a silk screen. The fabrics are then hand printed at Publisher Textiles and Paper in Sydney. All elements to this collection are 100% ethical and Australian made. All Benefits from this collection go directly to Ikuntji Artists.

Thanks To

Shilo McNamee, Creative Director

Perina Drummond, Head Stylist

Alira McKenzie, Stage Manager

James Mangohig, Musical Director 

Hair and Makeup, NK Darwin Makeup and Hair

Global Headquarters Motion Media, Production 

Show 1: Mary Williams, Acknowledgement of Country

Show 2: Robert Mills, Acknowledgement of Country

Melanie Mununggurr, Guest Performer

Caiti Baker, Guest Performer

Dreamedia, Lighting and technical

Global Headquarters, Videography

Wayne Quilliam, Videography

Photography, Dylan Buckee

Global Headquarters Motion Media, Video Editor

Dan Sharp, Video Editor

Argentaur, Event management

Raymond Ukaegbu, Model Coach

Raymond Ukaegbu, Backstage Manager

Caitii Baker dressed by Su Dandaloo

Melanie Mununggurr

 

 

Be part of Country to Couture in 2023!

Be part of Country to Couture in 2023!

Backstage at Country to Couture 2022, photo by Mel Brautigam, Territory Savvy Expressions of Interest are NOW OPEN! The Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair  (DAAF) Foundation’s Indigenous Fashion Projects (IFP) is thrilled to invite you to apply to be part of the iconic...

IFP Safeguards First Nations Interests with Guide to Best Practice

IFP Safeguards First Nations Interests with Guide to Best Practice

Artist Mary Dhapalany bundling the pandanus, visit to Bula'Bula Arts, Ramingining in Central Arnhem Land, 2022A collaboration model to support commercial partnerships in the Australian fashion industry. As First Nations textile and fashion explodes in popularity, the...

As seen in marie claire!

As seen in marie claire!

This August, Indigenous Fashion Projects joined forces with marie claire Australia to celebrate some of this year’s talented line up of NIFA winners, with a special shoot under the Top End sun on Larrakia Country. The vision came to life with First Nations...