Momentous end to Fashion Week sees First Nations fashion designers announce official opening of Sydney pop-up store

Linda D. Garrow

Fashion Week ended last week with an emphatic exclamation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander excellence.

The First Nations Fashion + Design (FNFD) closing runway highlighted designers from right across Australia.

FNFD celebrates independent Indigenous designers and supports their growth and development in the fashion industry.

Supported by THE ICONIC, First Nations Fashion + Design wowed a packed crowd on Friday night, with female musicians and a primarily female line-up of designers as a way to explore the matriarchal structure of First Nations’ culture.

And while the event marked the end of a week in which fashion was front and centre, it’s also a new beginning for First Nations fashion.

For Sydneysiders, Election Day this Saturday, May 21, will also mark the official opening of the Edit Collection and First Nations Fashion + Design pop-up store in Chatswood on Sydney’s Lower North Shore. It will be open for a month.

Available will be the designs on display at Friday’s show.

Designer Paul McCann is a Marrithiyel man born in Darwin and a traditional landowner connected to his country, Delye. His trademark designs are described as “bling-bling faboriginality”.(Supplied: Lucas Dawson)
A man in a black suit with green leaves and gold adorning the leaves
Paul McCann decided to forgo any formal art training in favour of exploring his own creative style and instincts.(Supplied: Lucas Dawson)
A woman in an orange dress carrying a bag
Glenda McCulloch and her sisters Juanita, Dale and Cheryl’s label Myrrdah is named after their great great Grandmother on their mother’s side.(Supplied: Lucas Dawson)
A man holding a sign. He has a scarf draped across his shoulder.
Clothing The Gaps is a label managed by health professionals celebrating Aboriginal people and culture.(Supplied: Lucas Dawson)
A man wearing a white shirt and silver encrusted black jacket
Designers Aunty Emily Doolah and Sally Jackson are collaborating as part of the Future of Fashion initiative which creates direct access to the Australian Fashion industry through the one-on-one mentoring of First Nations designers.(Supplied: Lucas Dawson)
Three models in swimsuits walking down the runway in different directions
Bardi, Nyul Nyul, Nyikina woman Nat Dunn’s Ihraa Swim label was born from her desire to find the perfect bikini.(Supplied: Lucas Dawson)

The theme of the night was Our Island, Our Home – a campaign by Torres Strait Islander people to raise awareness about climate change.

Christine Anu and Zipporah Corser-Anu, The Merindas and rapper BARKAA performed to a hyped audience.

It was one of those rare events in these pandemic times in that it attracted a very large crowd.

And there didn’t seem to be a single person in the audience who didn’t think this was an event worth attending and a fitting conclusion to Fashion Week 2022.

Christine Anu and Zipporah Corser-Anu
Christine Anu and her daughter Zipporah Corser-Anu performed Island Home and Party to a hyped crowd. They’re wearing Erik Yvon. (Supplied: Lucas Dawson)
BARKAA wearing a glittery jumpsuit
Rapper BARKAA performed in a custom jumpsuit designed by AARLI.(Supplied: Lucas Dawson)
An audience of people
The First Nations Fashion + Design closing runway event attracted a large and boisterous audience. (Supplied: Lucas Dawson)

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