On the surface, it doesn’t seem like tectonic plates and the Mariana Trench have much to do with fashion.

For Yolngu woman and founder and creative director of Liandra Swim, Liandra Gaykamangu was inspired by how elements of nature are all part of a kinship system.

Having recently been named Australian Fashion Week’s 2022 changemaker, Gaykamangu launched her new collection Deep Sea during the Indigenous Fashion Projects Runway on Tuesday, May 10.

Gaykamangu said topography and geography played a huge part in her inspiration behind this collection.

“I hand draw all the prints…so you’ll see the prints they have a little bit of a topography feel,” she said.

“I really leaned into the deep sea there’s so much that happens down there and in the Mariana Trench you know there’s animals and a whole ecosystem down there so far below the surface.

Liandra Swim’s Deep Sea collection. Picture: Instagram/robhimages

“Also I played on the tectonic plates, they’re always interconnected and clashing at some points but they all fit together and really I use that as a metaphor as a play on society and civilization.”

This year’s collection has a different style and structure compared to Gaykamangu’s previous collections.

“It does have a bit more of a sports feel, I grew up playing basketball, soccer, netball, tennis, surfing so I leaned into that element of me and my personality,” Gaykamangu said.

“I created some pieces that are sports but still have a little bit of a feminine aspect and touch so you’ll be able to see that when it’s on the runway.”

Gaykamangu said part of Liandra Swim’s mission was to avoid waste and create pieces as sustainably as possible.

“The inks that we use are also as eco-friendly as possible as technology allows, the same thing with our fabrics,” she said.

“Also our packaging is made from cassava as a plastic alternative and our mailbags is home compostable or recyclable.

“We’re almost on the verge of being completely plastic free.”

This is something important to Liandra Swim as a brand but also to Gaykamangu on a personal level as an Indigenous woman.

“It plays into me and what I care about and also what I was brought up and the ethics and values that I have,” Gaykamangu said.

“On a cultural aspect you know the environment that each plant, each animal, each location, we all have a very unique relationship.

“A tree isn’t just a tree, it’s part of our kinship system and so it’s really deeper than just surface level caring for country, it’s more so a responsibility to each living thing in the environment and in the ecosystem to take care of.”

AAFW ends Friday, May 13 with the First Nations Fashion + Design show.