Announcing the recipients of the Flourish II: First Nations Textile Design & Fashion Innovation Fund

Twelve First Nations fashion and textile designers and organisations are being supported to further their creative endeavour, create new collections, build and scale sustainable businesses and reach new, emerging markets through grant funding from the Australia Council for the Arts.

Flourish II: First Nations Textile Design & Fashion Innovation Fund provides up to $50,000 that can be used to support innovation, production, capacity building, marketing, professional development, seed funding and increasing digital visibility in the First Nations textile design and fashion sector.

This year, the Australia Council for the Arts has announced 12 recipients of the Flourish fund, including Julie Shaw, founder and creative director of luxury resortwear label Maara Collective, to enable her to market her brand internationally.

Ms Shaw:

The planned activity would allow me to attend some of the USA’s key fashion trade fairs and conduct market research whilst in the USA in further key locations (New York, Los Angeles and Miami). Attendance at trade fairs will provide professional development opportunities in forming strategic partnerships with key retailers and showrooms within the USA.

Yarrenyty Arltere Artists, in the Northern Territory, will use the funding to train young women (daughters and granddaughters of the artists) to screen print, pattern make and sew and create a collection. The artists will work with industry experts to conceptualise and make the one-off collection.

Yarrenyty Arltere Artists:

The hope is that the resulting collection ‘Nurna kutatha mpaarama!’ (We are always making!) will show on the runway in Darwin 2024 as part of Country to Couture.

Kieren Karritpul, an artist with the Merrepen Arts Culture & Language Aboriginal Corporation in the Northern Territory, is a recipient of Flourish II funding and recognises the positive impact it will have on every artist at the organisation:

He Said:

We see Merrepen Arts are going from strength to strength. We have achieved a lot in the last couple of years and hope this continues. Our artists are enthusiastic to keep learning new skills and developing their art. This funding inspires all our artists to keep going forward.

Mr Karritpul, who is looking forward to using the funding to visit and learn from the Nagula Jardu Arts Centre in Broome:

I am looking forward to seeing the Western Australian coast and the colour of the ocean. It will help us in lots of ways. We have always admired the work from Broome so I will be able to learn from them. When I return, I will teach the other artists at Merrepen what I have learnt and seen.

Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Foundation Ltd (DAAFF) runs Indigenous Fashion Projects (IFP) which supports Indigenous fashion creatives – from urban-based designers to those in Art Centres in remote communities – to develop their businesses at a national level.

They will use the Flourish funding to support the ‘Nurturing Strong Futures: Training the Trainer at Indigenous Fashion Projects’ to provide professional development for its team to ‘empower and increase their capacity to enhance and broaden the significant offerings as a dynamic leader sector’. Key areas of focus will be public relations and marketing, eCommerce, bespoke and volume manufacturing, and visual merchandising and retailing.

DAAFF Executive Director Claire Summers:

Flourish II will give us the support to ensure that we can continue providing critical support to First Nations designers and creatives, the tools required to build their confidence and our own business networks, as well as amazing opportunities in fashion, by allowing our team to expand our networks and gain industry experience.

IFP is proud to be Indigenous led and we hope to continue developing our programs and events, and take on new initiatives that help support Indigenous fashion creatives. This also includes extending more support to our network of Art Centres. We can’t do this unless IFP attracts support to strengthen and expand our team – the Flourish grant will play a huge role in this!

Together with David Jones, Afterpay, and IMG Australia, DAAFF program IFP staged the Indigenous Fashion Projects Runway at Australian Fashion Week last month, showcasing a diverse collective of contemporary Indigenous fashion designers, including fellow Flourish II recipients Gammin threads.

Australia Council’s Executive Director First Nations Arts and Culture, Franchesca Cubillo:

For many First Nations fashion and textile designers, art doesn’t just enable creative expression and storytelling, but provides an avenue to pursue meaningful and exciting business opportunities. We are delighted to be able to support them through the Flourish fund to further their creative endeavour, whether it’s creating new collections, expanding their product range, learning new techniques, empowering other artists or exploring new and emerging markets.

Full list of recipients:

  • Kristy Dickinson (Victoria) – to launch a premium children’s brand Haus of Ziggy Lee (HOZL) as a source of pride to empower youth
  • Kinaway Chamber of Commerce Victoria Ltd (Victoria) – for open digital learning modules created by Mob for Mob sharing textile art and fashion knowledge
  • Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Foundation Ltd (Northern Territory) – for Nurturing Strong Futures: Training the Trainer at Indigenous Fashion Projects
  • Merrepen Arts Culture & Language Aboriginal Corporation (Northern Territory) – Learning from Others. Doing with Others: Kieren Karritpul at Nagula Jardu Arts Centre, Broome.
  • Julie Shaw (New South Wales) – International trade fair attendance and market research (USA)
  • Gammin threads (Victoria) – Gammin threads AW24 range
  • Yarrenyty Arltere Artists (Northern Territory) – To create a collection called ‘Nurna kutatha mpaarama! (We are always making!)’
  • Cairns Indigenous Art Fair Limited (Queensland) – Cairns Indigenous Art Fair Fashion Collection and Textile Design Professional Development Program
  • Girringun Aboriginal Corporation (Queensland) – Girringun Aboriginal Art Centre Fashion + Textile market entry
  • Anindilyakwa Royalties Aboriginal Corporation (Queensland) – Developing Anindilyakwa fashion to support Warnumamalya (First Nations) artists on Groote Eylandt
  • The Trustee for the Olive Trust (House of Darwin) (Northern Territory) – Wholesale expansion and development of their product range and offering
  • Yawuru Jarndu Aboriginal Corporation (Nagula Jarndu) (Western Australia)– Yinamaguran-She Makes: to create a commercially-viable clothing range from screen-printed fabrics:

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