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World Indigenous People

Indigenous Fashion Project (IFP) calls for support

3 min read

IFP is at the forefront of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander design, striving to deliver First Nations art and fashion to mainstream Australia and the world.

As Indigenous designers take their rightful place on the runways of Australian fashion, a campaign is mounting to address disadvantage and improve equal opportunity in our local fashion industry.

Indigenous Fashion Projects (IFP), established to build capacity for the Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander textile and fashion design industry, has launched a call for donors to help emerging creatives and businesses grow, develop, and achieve their cultural aspirations.

Models wear Ngali, backstage at Country to Couture, 2021, photo by James Giles 2

IFP is a program of the not-for-profit, Indigenous owned and governed Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Foundation, and is seeking tax deductible donations from corporates and individuals to foster the advancement and protection of cultural expression and build more capability in the First Nations fashion industry.

With many Indigenous designers located in remote and regional Australia, creatives lack access to everyday resources available to aspiring metro designers, while many also aren’t aware of the myriad career paths in the fashion industry.

IFP’s Manager, Dave Giles-Kaye, said by becoming an IFP annual donor, supporters are helping to foster the growth, expression and preservation of the world’s oldest living cultures through textile and fashion practices.

“IFP strives to bring the Indigenous fashion industry into alignment with the mainstream fashion industry, developing programs and events that build capability and shine a spotlight on our incredible First Nations fashion designers,” Dave said.

“Importantly this also creates opportunity for Indigenous involvement across the creative spectrum, be it models, stylists, make-up artists or photographers who all contribute their talents within the industry.”

IFP was created by the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Foundation (DAAFF) and is home to the National Indigenous Fashion Awards (NIFA), Country to Couture runway and Pathways Program.

David Jones Capsule Collection. Liandra Swimwear

These events collectively showcase Indigenous textile and fashion design talent, while the Pathways Program nurtures and mentors up and coming labels. A major achievement in the last 12 months has been IFP’s partnership with David Jones that has seen six emerging designers participate in the Pathways Program. They have been mentored by some of Australia’s most renowned fashion labels, participated in six professional development workshops with David Jones’ senior staff, and featured on the Indigenous Fashion Project’s runway at Afterpay Australian Fashion Week. The program culminated in another historical moment with David Jones launching their first Indigenous fashion pop-up in store at David Jones Pacific Fair in Queensland and online from 25 October.

Liandra Gaykamangu, founder of Liandra Swim, is one of the talented designers selected to join the Pathways Program. “IFP’s Pathways Program has been instrumental in bringing Indigenous design to the main stage and has offered us the invaluable opportunity to exhibit our culture that’s been tens-of-thousands of years in the making,” Liandra said.

Further donor funding will enable the expansion of Pathways Program from a pilot into a fully-fledged annual program, with Dave Giles-Kaye saying that IFP’s target of $150,000 will boost development programs and make them available to more Indigenous creatives.

“This year has been a watershed year for Indigenous fashion, with our first Afterpay Australian Fashion Week catwalk and unprecedented support from Australia’s leading fashion media and retail brands,” Dave said.

“Every dollar that we receive is a game-changer – Indigenous fashion may have been underfunded but it is no longer being overlooked.”
Donations to IFP are fully tax deductible and offer a range of benefits including tickets to Indigenous fashion events. To give or sign up to become a regular donor, head to the IFP website: https://www.ifp.org.au/support-ifp/


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