Meet the Judges for the 2023 National Indigenous Fashion Awards

Yatu Widders Hunt

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 Australian Indigenous Fashion 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.

Lisa Waup

Lisa Waup 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 2019 a second collection was released, and screen printed at Spacecraft in Melbourne, titled JOURNEYS the collection was launched at Hong Kong Business and Design Week and showcased at DAAFF – From Country to Couture and Melbourne Fashion Week. This collection was part of a touring exhibition titled PIINPI: Contemporary Indigenous Fashion which has travelled from Bendigo Regional Gallery to the National Museum of Australia, Australian Embassy in France (part of Paris Fashion Week) and Taiwan.

At present part of both collections are in a major touring exhibition which started at the JamFactory titled New Exuberance: Contemporary Australian Textile Design. Both collections have been acquired by State and National institutions.

In 2020 Waup was a nominee in The Cultural Adornment and Wearable Art Award for the NIFA, and presently is an artist in Melbourne Now showcasing contemporary body adornment.

Waup is a Lecturer in the Drawing and Printmaking Department at the Victorian College of the Arts at the University of Melbourne.

Nimmi Premaratne

Nimmi Premaratne is the Design Manager for Womenswear at Country Road, who are also sponsors of the Fashion Design NIFA.

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.

Perina Drummond

Perina Drummond is the Creative Director, Head Stylist, and founder of Jira Models.

Perina is a proud Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal woman with professional experience in modelling, runway styling, editorial styling, film set and costume design, as well as events planning and management.

In 2017 Perina founded Jira Models Agency where she works to mentor young models while fulfilling the role of Creative Director and Head Stylist. Today, Jira models continues to be a successful agency, changing the face of Australian fashion and providing career pathways for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander talents into the modelling industry. Jira represents First Peoples of Australia in the modelling world whose talent are driven by their strong cultural connections and their desire to influence and inspire communities around Australia.

Perina’s previous involvement with the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Foundation’s Fashion Projects over the past few years encompasses key roles and events including being a NIFA nominee for her work with Jira Models in 2020, Creative Director for Country to Couture and the IFP Runway at Australian Fashion Week in 2021, as well as Head Stylist for Country to Couture in 2022.


Imagery courtesy of our judges. Banner image by Michael Jalaru Torres.