NATIONAL: The Australia fashion scene is set to change with the introduction of Australian Indigenous Fashion Week (AIFW).
It will be run by Indigenous owned and managed event and communications company All The Perks.
The inaugural event will take place in Sydney initially over two days, 30-31 August 2013, will provide a platform for promoting authentic Australian Indigenous made designs and products. The event will then expand to a week-long celebration by 2015.
Samantha Harris, David Jones Ambassador, has signed on to be the AIFW Ambassador for the first year and already has a taste of the diversity of Australian Indigenous designs after the first successful fashion shoot in August.
The AIFW launch shoot, designed by Michelle Jank, Kamillaroi Artist Jonathan Jones and Murri Artist Jacob Nash, and photographed by Justin Ridler, features traditional and contemporary Indigenous designers such as Vicki West, Lola Greeno, Mia Brennan, Lucy Simpson, Alison Page and Eva Wanganeen to name a few.
“I am very excited to be the face of Australia’s first national Australian Indigenous Fashion Week,” said Samantha .
“I want the world to learn about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, stories, and to see the high end quality designs produced by individual designers and communities nationwide.”
Working with a range of talented designers, Harris is excited to lead the runway event in 2013 along with a new talent pool of Indigenous male and female models showcasing new collections.
The AIFW runway event is open to industry buyers and consumers and will feature the best of Australian Indigenous traditional, contemporary and collaborative fashion, textiles, and accessories from communities around Australia.
The fashion categories will feature women’s and men’s wear, street wear, luxury and children’s wear collections.
AIFW will also feature an Indigenous Fashion Fair Marketplace over one day for direct purchasing links and networking opportunities for industry buyers, retailers and consumers.
All The Perks, Managing Director Krystal Perkins states “this is the first event of its kind, bringing together Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander fashions, and a diverse group of designers under the one banner.
“Our aim is to foster Indigenous economic advancement while promoting and enhancing ethical standards and nurturing the Australian Indigenous Design industry – this is a new platform for authentic Australian made products to be distributed nationally and internationally”.
Behind the AIFW project is a specialist advisory Steering Committee combining artists and legal experts,including; Arrernte and Kalkadoon Art Consultant Hetti Perkins, Kamillaroi and Wirwadjuri Artist Jonathan Jones, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Lawyer Terri Janke and Mununjali ArtistDonna Carstens, whose valued art and legal expertise will guide the project.
In the coming months, All The Perks will establish an AIFW Quality Control Panel, which will work to curate high quality wearable fashions and collections for the runway year on year.
AlFW has a dynamic Indigenous Artistic Design Team including emerging designer Jacob Nash, Artist in Residence for Bangarra Dance Theatre. Nash will work on designing key photoshoots and the AIFW event sets in 2013 “Indigenous artists offer creations unique to country, stories, art and language and you cannot find such designs anywhere else in the world”, expresses Nash, “It’s exciting to finally have a national showcase to demonstrate Australian Indigenous cultures combined with the contemporary world we live in”, said Nash.
Featuring over 60designers, artists and performers, the event will not only showcase unique designs andproducts but will offer national and international attendees a range of Indigenous cultural performances, tourism experiences and visual art.
AIFW aims to promote direct purchasing links for Indigenous communities, designers and artists to increase Indigenous enterprise capability and their cultures.
The annual program will feature a national catalogue of works to promote Ethical and Fair Trade forartists and designers to sell new works and collections to the retail industry or collaborate with brands.
Over the coming months, All The Perks will place a call out to Indigenous designers around Australia, and Australian brands with the aim of curating a high-end traditional and contemporary wearable fashion showcase.