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First Nations designers return to Australian Fashion Week for the David Jones Indigenous Fashion Projects Runway!

Indigenous Fashion Projects (IFP) and David Jones welcome the return of the IFP Pathways Program for 2024, nurturing and overseeing the designs of seven First Nations creatives, with five showcasing their designs at Australian Fashion Week (AFW). 

Founded by the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair (DAAF) Foundation in 2020, the IFP Pathways Program is a two-year fashion label development program in partnership with David Jones. It aims to empower and support the growth of First Nations designers through workshops and mentorships with David Jones and established Australian designers, including Bassike, Bondi Born, ESSE, Alemais, Papinelle, Blanca and Jac + Jack.

The program has played a significant role in providing the chance for emerging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander designers to be represented in the fashion industry on a national and international stage; with many previous participants having gone on to present their works on the covers of leading magazines and global runways, including IFP alumni Liandra Gaykamangu of Liandra Swim, who notably will be presenting her own standalone runway at AFW this season.  

Now in their second year of mentorship, this year’s presenting cohort includes men’s swimwear label, GALI Swimwear; women’s swimwear brand, Ihraa Swim; ready-to-wear menswear label, JOSEPH & JAMES; lingerie favourite, Lazy Girl Lingerie; and womenswear from art and lifestyle brand, Miimi & Jiinda

Together on Gadigal Country, these designers will showcase their latest collections with not one, but two runway shows; an exciting first for the program giving each designer the chance to showcase their collections in an industry-only event, followed by a runway for the general public. 

While fellow designers and IFP Pathways participants Gammin Threads and KAMARA will not be showcasing their designs on the runway this season, customers can expect to see their bright, bold, and diverse collections later this year when they land in-store at the IFP Pathways Program Pop-Up at David Jones’ Elizabeth Street Flagship.

“We are looking forward to a beautiful runway for 2024. As our designers present their new collections, their stories are woven together inspired by land and waters, memory, culture and our people. Our show brings together our way of being, In Relation Way,” said IFP Manager, Michelle Maynard.

“The IFP Pathways Program is a proud part of David Jones’ ongoing commitment to supporting diverse design perspectives and working towards a future fashion industry that is more inclusive and representative of First Nations design and cultures,” said David Jones General Manager of Womenswear, Footwear & Accessories, Bridget Veals. 

“We’re incredibly proud of our partnership with the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Foundation and of the Indigenous Fashion Projects’ role in facilitating the development of these designers through cross-cultural exchange and mentorship.”

“Our talented designers have been exposed to an incredible amount of guidance and mentorship over the past two years, and their final showcase at Australian Fashion Week will be an exciting chance to see their individual visions come to life as we round-out their program.” 

Juanita Page, founder and designer of JOSEPH & JAMES and proud Gooreng Gooreng and South Sea Islander woman, said the IFP Pathways Program has created opportunities for connection, community and growth.

“Showcasing at Australian Fashion Week in 2023 as part of the David Jones Indigenous Fashion Projects Runway opened an opportunity for some really cool conversations, connections and learnings. I’m grateful to have the opportunity to be a part of this runway again in 2024 and am looking forward to seeing where implementing what I’ve learned over the past 18 months will take us as a brand.” 

Join us on Gadigal Country

The 2024 IFP Pathways Program participants’ second showcase will be held during Australian Fashion Week, presented by Pandora.

Join us on Gadigal Land in Redfern, for the David Jones Indigenous Fashion Projects runway on Thursday 16th May, in Gallery I at Carriageworks, at 8:30pm AEST. 

AFW is an IMG event supported by the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency Destination NSW. AFW will take place from 13 – 17 May 2024.

All images courtesy of Getty Images, Afterpay Australian Fashion Week 2023

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