Indigenous Fashion Projects, in collaboration with IP Australia and Arts Law, is addressing an important gap in the burgeoning Indigenous fashion and textile industry.
Words by Camilla Wagstaff
“Best Practice is about making sure everyone has all the tools and information necessary to interact in the fashion world in a way that fully benefits themselves and their community,” says Sarah Paton, Project Officer at IP Australia. Sarah is a Wiradjuri woman who has been seconded to DAAF for the duration of the project.
Image above: Anindilyakwa Arts x Anna Reynolds collection, Backstage at Country to Couture, 2021, photo by James Giles.
Banner image: Photo by Timothy Hillier, Country to Couture Melbourne, 2021.
“The recent emergence of Indigenous fashion shows that there is a real need for more information out there for Indigenous businesses,” says Sarah.
Image: Anindilyakwa Arts x Anna Reynolds collection, Backstage at Country to Couture, 2021, photo by James Giles.
“This project aims to assist by providing that information so that Indigenous artists and designers – and those who want to work with them – can feel inspired [and] confident that they can navigate the journey.”
Image: Tiwi Designs with Ossom, backstage at Country to Couture, 2021, photo by James Giles.
“It needs to be honoured with the utmost respect, privileging Indigenous artists and designers’ innovation and culturally rich ways of knowing and practicing.”
Belinda makes clear that the Best Practice initiative will also help assign appropriate value and payment to First Nations art and design.
Belinda outlines with educational tools and resources:
- A checklist of key questions and points of discussion to get both Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists, designers and fashion brands exploring and clarifying why they want to engage in the Indigenous fashion space and what their expectations are.
- An interactive digital map of the many pathways that can be taken in a fashion program and the resources and knowledge to consider at each stage.
- Project Partners Arts Law and IP Australia are developing videos and templates to assist in the contracting process, the legalities of a fashion collection development and Cultural IP management.
Image: Backstage at Country to Couture, 2021, photo by James Giles.
“We’ve developed products with artists and artisans all around the world, but this incredible opportunity to work with artists in this country is so exciting for us,” says Arkin Dejemal, Global Operations Manager at Helen Kaminski.
“We explored who we are and what we make, and we exchanged packages of our materials to experiment,” says Hilary.
“So far it’s really been about building trust and a good line of communication and connection. The approach feels very authentic. It’s a lovely informal way of communication which feels relevant for both sides. We’re just feeling our way through.”
“I am excited to be a part of a project that has capacity for real and important change amongst the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community. Fashion has always been a progressive industry. A focus on Best Practice for Indigenous artists ensures it remains progressive and helps to create a culturally safe future.”
Image above: Backstage at Country to Couture, 2021, photo by James Giles.
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