We’re thrilled to introduce you to the amazing line-up for Country to Couture 2020 in Darwin, and 2021 in Melbourne.
Covid-19 restrictions may have halted the annual event for 2020 this August, but the showcase of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander fashion and textile design is back in it’s 5th iteration, and is taking on a new digital form.
Collections will be presented at an intimate celebration this December on Larrakia country, which will then be broadcast to share the celebration in the new year!
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 via NT Major Events, and the iconic Australian lifestyle brand Country Road.
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The Interwoven collection is a reversible collection of swimwear that infuses signature prints inspired by Indigenous Australian culture. Each print shares one part of a wider story that celebrates the practice of weaving.
“Our swimwear is used as a way to share in and celebrate the achievements of Indigenous women, as we name each of our pieces after inspirational Indigenous women. The goal is to start positive conversations around Indigenous Australian culture and shed a light on Indigenous female achievements, in a way that is authentic and contemporary.”
Liandra Swim is owned and operated by Liandra Gaykamangu. A Yolngu woman from North-East Arnhem Land (Northern Territory). She currently operates her label Liandra Swim from Milingimbi, a small remote island community in Arnhem Land. Liandra has strong connections to Milingimbi and surrounding homelands, as this is where her family are from.
Ikuntji Artists X Magpie Goose
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The Ikuntji Artists X Magpie Goose collaboration was developed to showcase designs by senior artists from the Western Desert to reach new audiences through wearable art. Two years in the making, the collection was launched in November 2019, and has been loved by customers around Australia and the world.
Ikuntji Artists, located in Haasts Bluff community in Central Australia, was the first Art Centre established for women of the Western Desert art movement. Ikuntji Artists are famous for bold colour choice, decisive brush strokes, and rich cultural storytelling.
Their collaboration with social enterprise Magpie Goose enabled Ikuntji Artists to translate their designs onto textiles, and share cultural stories through a new medium. Magpie Goose worked with Ikuntji Artists to develop the range, with colour-ways decided upon in collaboration and the production completed through Magpie Goose’s partners.
Yirradarringka -Langwa Akarwadiwada – Womens Work
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Since 2015 women artists from Anindilyakwa Arts, an Aboriginal owned business on Groote Eylandt, have established a successful ‘Bush Dye’ business, using their traditional basket making and plant dye knowledge in new ways to produce plant dyed wearables.
Artists have also been learning new skills with Darwin artist and designer Anna Reynolds, who, through a series of workshops at Umbakumba and Angurugu Art centres has expanded their textile practices to refashioning and recycling as well as hand and machine sewing and digital design.
Since the debut of their first ‘Bush Dye’ collection at 2018 Country to Couture, the Anindilyakwa Artists’ spirit of innovation shines again with their 2020 collection, titled Yirradarringka-Langwa Akarwadiwada – Womens Work.
This collection has embraced sustainable practices even more, with the repurposing of old work shirts from the miners working on the Magnesium mine on the Island, making social and environmental commentary.
Artist Annabel Amagula says “When we bush dye, the colours come from the old ways. We use that rusty stuff from the dump, to make the patterns. We use leaves too. We put that black colour in the dye pots to dye the fabrics.”
Denni Francisco, Ngali and Lindsay Malay, Warmun Art Centre
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Translating to ‘we’ or ‘us’ in a number of eastern Australian Aboriginal languages, Ngali by Denni Francisco is creating the ‘us’ we’d like to see: a harmonious, sustainable and equitable union of people with Country and each other. Ngali presents a mutually respectful collaboration with Gija artist, Lindsay Malay.
“Together we create. As a Wiradjuri woman, creating Ngali is a journey embedded in reflexivity and culture. When I began I reflected on what fashion as a platform could do to celebrate our culture to a wider audience and how our participation in the fashion industry could help change mindsets about fashion consumption and respect for Country.” – Denni Francisco
The process of Ngali’s work operates through the lens of Yindayamarra, fashion that shows respect, is polite, considered, gentle to Country, and honours the cross country collaborations with other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander creatives.
The Warlu Collection 2020
Warlukurlangu Aboriginal Corporation & North Home Textiles
Down a long red road five hours north-west of Alice Springs, the artists of Yuendumu and Nyrippi communities share stories of their country through bold brush strokes and joyful colour.
Here is a joyful collection of statement pieces – uniquely connected to the desert through its people, art and stories.
Each artwork featured in this collection is of one of the artist’s Jukurrpa – often called a Dreaming Story.
Warlukurlangu is one of the longest running and most successful Aboriginal-owned Art Centres in Australia. Warlukurlangu means ‘belonging to fire’ in the local language, Warlpiri, and is named after a Fire Dreaming site west of Yuendumu.
Warlu operates in Yuendumu community & the close by outstation of Nyrripi. The two communities are closely linked through families – as such, members of either communities are welcome to come and paint at the Art Centre.
Nobody Denim X Bima Wear
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The exciting collaboration between Melbourne based Nobody Denim and Tiwi Islands’ Bima Wear, features ‘Tunga’, the work of Theresa (Tara) Munkanome.
Tiwi women’s creative enterprise Bima Wear is based in Wurrumiyanga, Bathurst Island, off the northern coast of Darwin in the Northern Territory of Australia.
Inspired by the Islands of Australia, their uniqueness, unspoilt beauty and the communities within, the colour palette is anchored with rich earthy tones and balanced with soft natural pigments.
All fabrications are considered for their sustainable attributes with a focus on recycled and Australian made.
More exciting announcements are to come.
Experience Country to Couture 2020 for yourself through the digital broadcast launching in the new year. DAAFF also look forward to sharing more on the annual Country to Couture event set to return to the Fair in August 2021.