Whether it’s high fashion, runway-ready looks or everyday streetwear, these Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander designers are doing it all. Moreover, they’re creating clothing that embraces the power of pride, honours their culture, and kick starts conversations.
Check out these Indigenous Australian designers making their mark on the world.
Tahnee Edwards founded the iconic Gammin Threads label in 2018. A proud Yorta Yorta and Taungurung designer, Tahnee creates simple, powerful messaging and deadly everyday apparel.
Clothing the Gaps designers Laura Thompson (Gunditjmara) and Sarah Sheridan (non-Indigenous) design merch with a message. Simple, beautifully made, and value-driven, their clothing can be worn by mob and allies alike.
Maara Collective’s Creative Director and founder, Julie Shaw (Yuwaalaraay), works with Indigenous artists and creatives, designing contemporary fashion. Plus, proceeds go back to the people with initiatives like digital training and education in remote communities.
Iconic Indigenous-owned swimwear label Liandra Swim is the brainchild of Yolngu woman, Liandra Gaykamanga. As a chance to share stories about Indigenous Australia, her designs are high fashion and sustainably made.
Indigenous fashion is about making a statement in more ways than one. And there are a wealth of amazing First Nations designers doing just that. Combining the beauty of Indigenous Australian culture with the freshness of contemporary fashion, there are labels to suit every style.
On one end of the spectrum, simple, beautiful garments made of 100% cotton and embellished with a powerful statement. On the other hand, luxurious linen, silk, and natural dyes are flowing down the runway at this year’s AAFW. Thankfully, there’s no shortage of ways to support First Nations fashion designers.
This new generation knockout jersey from Take Pride Movement offers a classic Australian casual fashion staple in a contemporary way, proudly showing the colours of the Aboriginal flag. Kirrikin’s The Buffy Dress is flowy and elegant and features a stunning original print from contemporary Indigenous artist Buffy Corunna for a more elevated look.
Beyond looking good, there are many reasons to support Indigenous-led and owned businesses in Australia. And supporting aboriginal social enterprise means you’re giving back to the community and contributing toward positive social change.
Haus of Dizzy is just one business creating statement-making accessories that mean something. They collaborate with non-profit organisations, including NAIDOC and YWCA, to fundraise, celebrate, and support Indigenous culture. Their ‘Always Was, Always Will Be Aboriginal Land’ earrings feature a hand-painted acrylic design coupled with a powerful message.
Majority Aboriginal-owned social enterprise Clothing the Gaps creates apparel for the every day, including the Decolonise Everyday Tote Bag. Through their retail and distribution spaces, they’re a hub of Indigenous employment, and the brand exists to support the vital work of their Clothing the Gaps Foundation.
As these leading Aboriginal-owned clothing brands are proving, there are plenty of style-forward ways to show support.
Fashion is always about making a statement. But these Indigenous-led and owned fashion designers and creators are taking it one step further. Explore these trailblazers’ innovative, culturally inspired creations, and support fashion with a function.