The Afterpay Australian Fashion Week concluded on Gadigal country Friday, May 13 with an all-blak production from not-for-profit First Nations Fashion + Design.
It comes a year after the inaugural First Nations fashion runway was conducted on the eve of Mabo Day in 2021.
The runway featured eight Indigenous designers, Nungala Creative, Ihraa Swim, Gantharri, Myrrdah, Ikuntji Artists, Paul McCann, Elverina Johnson X Taking Shape and Clothing the Gap.
The theme of the runway was Our Islands, Our Home a campaign led by Torres Strait Islanders who seek to protect their island homes from the climate crisis.
The Welcome to Country was led by Aunty Yvonne Weldon and the show included performances by pop duo The Merindas, who sang in Noongar, and Barkaa who sang a rendition of her hit King Brown.
Christine Anu concluded the evening with a rendition of My Island Home.
A pivotal moment in the show was Clothing the Gaps showing their designs on models who walked the collection holding signs reading which Country they were from.
Gurugulu and Indiji Gimuy artists Johnson, who designed the prints for the Elverina Johnson X Taking Shape collection, said she was so excited to see her designs on the runway.
“This is my first time being in Australian Fashion Week…it’s a big achievement for me,” she said.
“Not just for me, but for my family and my community but it’s also every designers, every artists, dream come true to have their work represented here tonight.”
Johnson said what made the accomplishment even better was representing her designs alongside other First Nations creatives.
“It feels really good to be seeing all the other designers have this platform as well and it’s just going to blow people away,” she said.
“To have a whole crew of people who are First Nations, makeup artists, production crew, to have all that support around.
“It’s another stepping stone to being part of it, having a voice and having visibility in this space.”