National Indigenous Fashion Awards 2023 Nominations *have now closed*


DAAFF’s Indigenous Fashion Projects (IFP) is thrilled to invite you to nominate for this year’s National Indigenous Fashion Awards!

Launched in 2020, the NIFA provides a vibrant and exciting platform to celebrate the innovation, diversity and ethical practices of Australia’s First Nations peoples in fashion and textiles, whilst contributing to the capacity building of the sector.

Recognising and showcasing excellence across six categories, the award ceremony is a unique opportunity for the Australian and international fashion community to connect to the world’s oldest living cultures.

The NIFA event is proudly supported by the Northern Territory Government, industry sponsors Country Road, RMIT, Canberra Centre, Robina Town Centre and KIN Fashion, along with media partners NITV.


Who will you nominate this year?

Anyone – even YOU – can make a nomination.

This is a great time to put forward some of your favourite First Nations designers, creatives, Art Centres and businesses – and recognise their outstanding achievements and contributions in fashion and textiles. That dress you were eying off at fashion week, or that brand you follow on Instagram – now is the time to let them know how much you love their work.

And to our amazing community of First Nations creatives – don’t be shy – as well as nominating your peers, you can also nominate yourself!


The prestigious awards recognise excellence across several areas and include:

  • Traditional Adornment Award, supported by the Northern Territory Government
  • Community Collaboration Award, supported by Canberra Centre
  • Business Achievement Award, supported by Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Foundation
  • Textile Design Award, supported by RMIT
  • Wearable Art Award, supported by Robina Town Centre
  • Fashion Designer Award, supported by Country Road

Learn about each award category and the prizes below:

About the Award

Fashion Designer Award, Supported by Country Road

Since 2020, Country Road has been the proud presenter of the NIFA Fashion Designer Award. The award recognises an individual designer of original fashion apparel who has excelled both creatively and commercially.

The Award Considers:

  • Excellence in fashion design
  • Styling and product quality and originality
  • Commercial capability (has created a minimum of two commercial collections)
  • Cultural expression and storytelling
  • Environmental and social contribution

The Prize:

The winner will receive a 12-month business mentorship with Country Road, an iconic Australian fashion lifestyle brand. 

The program is tailored to the needs and focus areas defined by the mentee, covering areas such as marketing, product development, sales and finance and sustainability, supporting the winner to further build their business and career.

The mentorship can be delivered in person and online, with Country Road supporting travel expenses up to $5,000.

Past Winners Include: Julie Shaw of MAARA Collective, and Denni Francisco of Ngali, learn more here >>

About the Award

Textile Design Award

Supported by RMIT

Indigenous textile design holds deep meaning and continues to push the boundaries of contemporary First Nations cultures. It is a medium that offers freedom, where the use of the vibrant colours in textile design is represented in new expressions of old stories, which enable artists to stretch their imagination.

Presented by RMIT University, this award celebrates and recognises an individual designer of textiles, including woven, knitted, dyed, printed or surface ornamented constructions.

For example: screen print and lino print designs, woven garments, innovative digital designs on fabrics

The Award Considers:

  • Excellence in textile design
  • Innovation and originality
  • Quality of craft; print, dye or surface ornamentation (where applicable)
  • Cultural expression and storytelling
  • Environmental and social contribution

The Prize: The winner of the Textile Design Award will receive a customised Textile Design Professional Development undertaken with globally recognised RMIT School of Fashion and Textiles, ranked among the Business of Fashion’s The Best Fashion Schools in the World. The prize is tailored to the winning artist’s requirements.

Past Winners Include: 

  • 2020 winner Kieren Karritpul, a Ngen’gi wumirri designer from Nauiyu Nambiyu community, worked with RMIT to share and exchange knowledge and further his technical and design skills in screenprinting.
  • 2021 winner Eunice Napanangka Jack, from Ikuntji Artists, was excited to share her work and learn further skills through a series of online conversations.
  • 2022 winner Philomina Yeatman and the Yarrabah Community Art Centre developed a digital approach for screenprinting designs on Country, with remote technical support from RMIT.
About the Award

Community Collaboration Award

Supported by Canberra Centre

This award recognises strong, two-way relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and the textile and fashion industry. Where social and economic benefits flow to communities, and where First Nations peoples’ agency in the collaboration process is front and centre. 

For example: The nominee is an Art Centre or the community, with the award recognising all parties to the collaboration.

The Award Considers:

  • Demonstration of collaborative process 
  • Demonstration of Indigenous agency in the collaboration process
  • Cultural expression and storytelling
  • Social and economic contribution to Indigenous communities
  • Originality & Innovation

The Prize: A $10,000 cash prize to be split between each collaborator.  The winner will also get to showcase at the annual NIFA Canberra Centre showcase along with all NIFA award winners.  The NIFA showcase will also include a tour of 3 QIC discovery centres in QLD, NSW and VIC, supported by QIC.

Past Winners Include: Bula’bula Arts x MAARA Collective, Anindilyakwa Arts x Anna Reynolds and Aly de Groot, Mimili Maku Arts’ Linda Puna x Unreal Fur

About the Award

Business Achievement Award

Supported by Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Foundation

This is an award for an individual or group, recognising leadership in a Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander business, showing both creative and commercial success in textiles and fashion.

For example: a label, business, Art Centre

The Award Considers:

  • Business innovation
  • Product or service quality
  • Environmental and social contribution
  • Brand development and marketing
  • Cultural expression and storytelling
  • Impact on the Australian Indigenous fashion sector

The Prize: The winner of the Business Achievement Award will receive a $3000 cash prize and a customised business mentoring development. The mentoring will be designed and developed in support of the winners business goals and aims to enrich entrepreneurship and support fashion innovation. 

Past Winners Include:  Laura Thompson, Clothing the Gaps

About the Award

Wearable Art Award

Supported by Robina Town Centre

Recognising an individual designer for the creation of a single (not a collection) worn item of clothing, accessory or piece of jewellery that demonstrates excellence in design, craft, cultural and artistic expression.

The Award Considers:

  • Design quality and originality
  • Artistic merit
  • Cultural expression and storytelling
  • Quality of construction
  • Wearability and/or performance potential 

The Prize: The winning artist will receive a $5000 cash prize from Robina Town Centre.

Past Winners Include: Lillardia Briggs-Houston of Ngarru Miimi, and Paul McCann

About the Award

Traditional Adornment Award

Supported by Northern Territory Government

For tens of thousands of years First Nations Peoples from around the continent have celebrated their cultures through traditional dress.  This award shines a spotlight on the design of these items recognising an individual or group for the design of items that are created and worn to define or express culture. This award aims to encourage the creation and acknowledgement of traditional cultural regalia. 

For example: ceremonial dilly bag, dancing belt, head-dress, possum skin cloak

The Award Considers:

  • Quality of construction
  • Expression of living culture and traditional practice and storytelling
  • Contribution to the recognition and preservation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture

The Prize: A cultural exchange opportunity of the winners design and choosing, to the value of $2500.

Past Winners Include: Esther Yarllarlla, Bábbarra Women’s Centre

Who can nominate and be nominated?

  • The NIFA celebrates and recognises Indigenous Australians, and so nominees must be of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander heritage.
  • Anyone can make a nomination
  • You can also nominate yourself
  • You can nominate someone for multiple NIFA categories, ie. you may nominate them for the Fashion Designer Award AND the Business Achievement Award.

New! Introducing the NIFA Showcase Tour


Supported by QIC

The 2023 NIFA winners and nominees will all have the opportunity to tour their designs at four QIC centres including Canberra Centre (ACT), Robina Town Centre (QLD), Castle Towers (NSW) and Eastland (VIC), supported by QIC.

We thank QIC for partnering with us to celebrate, showcase and bring national exposure to our winners and all of the amazing talent and work being done in First Nations Fashion and Textile Design.

Nominations have now closed.

Shortlisted nominees will be notified in May.

To discuss your application, please contact IFP@daaf.com.au


Save the Date

Wednesday, 9 August, 2023

The NIFA 2022 will return to Larrakia Country this August alongside the renowned Country to Couture runway and Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair!

More details and ticket sales to be announced.


Images: 1) Winner Mimili Maku Arts, Linda Puna x Unreal Fur, NIFA 2022, Shoot for marie claire, photo by Michael Jalaru Torres. 2) Ngali by Denni Francisco, featuring print by Lindsay Malay, NIFA 2022, Shoot for marie claire, photo by Michael Jalaru Torres. 3) Winner Philomena Yeatman from Yarrabah Arts & Culture Precinct, NIFA 2022, Shoot for marie claire, photo by Michael Jalaru Torres. 4)Kiesha wears Annabell Amagula hat from the Anindilyakwa Arts collaboration with Anna Reynolds and Aly de Groot, winners of the 2021 Community Collaboration NIFA, photoshoot with marie claire Australia, 2021, photo by Tristan Stefan Edouard. 5) Clothing the Gaps, NIFA 2022, Shoot for marie claire, photo by Michael Jalaru Torres. 6) Shaneiva wears Gumnut Gown by Paul McCann, winner of the 2021 Cultural Adornment & Wearable Art NIFA, National Indigenous Fashion Awards photoshoot with marie claire Australia, 2021, photo by Tristan Stefan Edouard. 7) Esther Yarllarlla, Bábbarra Women’s Centre , NIFA 2022, Shoot for marie claire, photo by Michael Jalaru Torres. 8) NIFA 2022, photo by Dylan Buckee.