It was a hard act to follow, but the class of ’22 managed to do it in style.
First Nations Fashion + Design returned to the runway Friday night, wowing the packed Carriageworks hall with fresh looks.
Expectations were stratospheric, after the inaugural First Nations show at Australian Fashion Week last year saw audiences in tears and headlines made around the world.
Capping off the week’s festivities, Friday’s final runway saw a curated presentation of eight First Nations designers setting the sartorial agenda for the year ahead.
The focus this year turned to the Torres Strait, with the theme ‘Our Island, Our Home’ seeing designers celebrating the rich culture of the Islands, and addressing the challenges of the climate crisis and sustainability.
A night of glamor
The evening was a showcase of First Nations royalty, not just from the fashion world, but across the arts.
Aunty Yvonne Weldon led the Welcome to Country; a video performance by Luke Currie-Richardson opened proceedings; pop duo The Merindas performed, singing in Noongar; Barkaa had the crowd alight with a rendition of her hit ‘King Brown’; and a who’s who of Blak Excellence was in attendance, including Nova Perris, Thelma Plum, Narelda Jacobs, Dobby and more.
Christine Anu rounded out the evening with a stirring rendition of ‘My Island Home’, by which time audiences were on their feet and not a few were wiping away tears.
But the main event, of course, was the fashion.
Eight collections were presented: Nungala Creative by Jessica Johnson; Frock On!a collaboration by Ikuntji Artists and Flying Fox Fabrics; Myrrdah, by the Mt Isa sisters Juanita Doyle, Dale Bruce, Glenda McCulloch and Cheryl Perez; Gantharri, by Bobbi Lockyer; a collaboration by Elverina Johnson & Taking Shape; the inimitable Paul McCann; Ihraa Swim, by Nat Dann; and a closing collection by Clothing the Gaps.
Take a look at some of the designs that wowed the crowd.